1858 P1C Indian Cent, Judd-208, Pollock-259, R.4, MS64 NGC....
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Centered Date, Five-Leaf Clusters, MS64
Design. This is a transitional issue, with the same Indian Head obverse and Laurel Wreath reverse as adopted in 1859. Struck in copper-nickel with a plain edge.
Commentary. Examples of the Judd-208 issue were struck in both proof and business strike formats, although a determination of which of the Pollock varieties below were produced in those formats is beyond the scope of this description. The present piece was produced as a business strike. In terms of the certified populations, the total business strikes at NGC and PCGS combined are only about half of the proof total.
Pollock enumerates the obverse and reverse variants (all of which share the same Judd number, 208) as follows:
--Pollock-253. Low Date, five-leaf clusters in wreath. R.7.
--Pollock-254. Low Date, six-leaf clusters in wreath. R.7.
--Pollock-259. Centered Date, five-leaf clusters in wreath. Pollock R.4. The combined NGC/PCGS population is nearly 120 examples (of Judd-208).
--Pollock-261. Centered Date, six-leaf clusters in wreath. Pollock R.4, now considered R.7.
Much confusion surrounds the rarity of this issue. Part of it is due to the lack of separately attributed varieties at the major grading services, which would allow a more-accurate estimate of the surviving populations. Part of it is likely due to lack of knowledge of the die differences on the part of many collectors. Although the Judd ninth edition lists the rarity as R.1, that is surely in error, as it would mean that more than 1,250 examples are known.
The most accurate current information from USPatterns.com is given here. Several Indian cent (and Flying Eagle cent) die varieties were included in the 12-piece sets the Mint sold to collectors, with the Centered Date and five-leaf cluster (Pollock-259) much more often seen than the other Indian cent types. All of the Low Date and six-leaf varieties are indicated as R.7 according to Saul Teichman, with about a half-dozen examples known of each. The site lists the Pollock-259 as R.4, and we concur that high R.3 to R.4 is probably correct. (The "very common" label on USPatterns.com may explain the discrepancy, but one must add, "common for a pattern.")
Physical Description. This glossy, lustrous, well-struck near-Gem piece shows pretty almond-brown and pinkish coloration over surfaces that show only a couple of minor flecks but are free of any major distractions. The strike is somewhat soft on parts of LIBERTY and the central reverse, indicative of the hardness of the copper-nickel planchets that would ultimately lead to the introduction of the bronze cents. NGC Census: 15 in MS64, 6 finer as business strikes. PCGS Population: 11 in MS64, 4 finer (12/08).
Provenance. Ex: Stack's (12/1970), lot 587.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (PCGS# 11884)
Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)