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    Description

    Newly Found 1792 Washington Pattern Cent
    XF Details, Baker-21, Copper, Lettered Edge

    1792 1C Washington/Hancock Pattern Cent, Lettered Edge--Damaged--NCS. XF Details. Baker-21, Breen-1229, Fuld-WA.1792.4a, W-10670. The WASHINGTON PRESIDENT obverse is combined with the reverse having 13 stars along the top border. The edge is lettered UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This basic design exists with either a plain or a lettered edge. Both edge types are known in copper and silver, while the lettered edge pieces are also known in gold. A unique copper piece is also known from a second obverse die.
    These 1792 pieces are related to other Washington pieces with a similar obverse die, including the Washington Born Virginia coins and the General of the American Armies pieces. They are thought to be patterns made in England in anticipation of a possible contract coinage for the United States. The dies are attributed to John Gregory Hancock, a talented English engraver, and production is attributed to Obediah Westwood of Birmingham.
    There has been some disagreement regarding the number of pieces known today. The Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, by Q. David Bowers and published in 2009, provides rarity ratings using the Universal Rarity Scale that Bowers published in his Silver Dollar Encyclopedia a number of years ago. In 1988 Walter Breen provided estimates of rarity in his Complete Encyclopedia, and in 1999 George Fuld and Russell Rulau gave estimates in the second edition of Medallic Portraits of Washington. The six varieties are recorded here with the published survival estimates:

    --W-10660 Plain edge, copper. Bowers (unique), Fuld (6-7 known), Breen (6-7 known)
    --W-10665 Plain edge, silver. Bowers (3-8 known), Fuld (3-4 known), Breen (4-5 known)
    --W-10670 Lettered edge, copper. Bowers (5-8 known), Fuld (5-6 known), Breen (4-6 known)
    --W-10675 Lettered edge, silver. Bowers (3-4 known), Fuld (4-5 known), Breen (5-6 known)
    --W-10680 Lettered edge, gold. Bowers (unique), Fuld (unique), Breen (unique)
    --W-10685 Variant die, lettered edge, copper. Bowers (unique), Fuld (unique), Breen (unique?)

    If the plain edge copper piece is truly unique as Bowers records, then the lettered edge copper pieces become the only collectible examples in that metal, with approximately six known.
    This nicely detailed example has smooth chestnut-brown surfaces that are free of porosity or corrosion. However, several scratches and scrapes occur on each side, including a number of rim imperfections. At the same time, it is more desirable than the Garrett-Roper coin that is well worn, or the Robison example that is holed and plugged. The finest known is the Norweb coin (Stack's, 11/2006), that sold for $253,000.
    The prior provenance is unknown, but it is from an old-time numismatic holding and has been off the market for decades, and is a new specimen to the current numismatic generation. Despite its obvious imperfections, the present specimen of the Hancock Washington pattern is extremely important and highly desirable. We anticipate serious bidding competition when it crosses the auction block. (NGC ID# 2B74, PCGS# 708)


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2009
    10th-13th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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