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    Description

    1861 Original Confederate Cent, PR63
    One of Only 14 Pieces Known
    Off the Market Since 1989

    1861 1C Original CSA Cent PR63 NGC. Ex: Jon Hanson. 63.2 grains. 88% copper, 12% nickel. Breen-8005. The original Confederate cents are among the most sought-after coinage mementoes of the Lost Cause. They are second only in popularity and price to the extremely rare original Confederate half dollars. The most widely disseminated description of the origin of the Confederate cents arises from a talk delivered at the 1908 ANA Convention by John Haseltine that can best be considered apocryphal. Haseltine received an honorary life membership from the ANA that year, and was considered by Henry Chapman as belonging to "the old school of numismatics." Rather than repeat and refute Haseltine's yarns, it is more important to emphasize what we do know and strongly suspect about these coins.

    Although documents confirm that the Confederate half dollars were struck in the New Orleans mint in 1861, no primary historic paper trail links the original CSA cents to having been struck in that year. However, there is strong circumstantial evidence, all of which is listed in the in-depth study of the original, restrike, and Bashlow restrikes of the Confederate cents in the 2006 work by Harold Levi and George Corell: The Lovett Cent, a Confederate Story. Among the most compelling reasons suggesting these pieces were struck in 1861, rather than when they first publicly appeared in 1873 are:

    Robert Lovett had little or no motivation to create a Confederate cent in the early 1870s. He was not known to be a collector of coins, tokens, or banknotes.

    There would likely have been no source for copper-nickel planchets, because that alloy had not been used for nine years.

    Lovett's design for the CSA original cents included devices used on store cards ca 1860:

    The French Liberty bust, and the six incuse stars (in a slight arch with the rightmost star nearly hidden by Liberty's hair near the back of the coronet) appeared on the Marshall House, Idler, Allebach, and Beirn store cards.

    If Lovett actually had made the cents in 1873, there would have been no reason to involve John Haseltine and Edward Maris, as he surely could have sold many more than the 12 or 16 coins reported to have been struck.



    Thus it is highly unlikely that Lovett would have had the inclination or material to strike coins in 1873 using motifs he designed shortly before 1861.

    As we said when we sold the Noble Family Collection CSA Confederate cent: "The greatest concentration of truth about the original strikes of the Confederate cents seems to be clustered around the time of their discovery and the sale at auction of the discovery piece." In Haseltine's January 1874 sale, he apparently knew some of the facts, but appears to have not known how many pieces were struck. It appears that Haseltine believed the mintage was limited to the coins he had seen. This fact was later clarified by Dr. Maris, who actually owned the coins. Lot 665 in the 1874 sale states:

    "The dies for the above piece were made by Mr. Lovett, of Philadelphia, in 1861. Mr. Lovett says that they were ordered in 1861, for the South, and that the dies were delivered. Previous to delivering the dies, he struck twelve pieces, but showed them to no one and kept the matter quiet, fearing that he might be arrested if it were known. It was not until about six months since Mr. Lovett parted with all he had (either ten or twelve) to Dr. E. Maris, of Philadelphia, from whom this one was obtained. Although it is evident that the Southern Confederacy did not adopt the piece, still it will always be considered interesting and valuable as the only coinage designed for the Southern Confederacy, and will no doubt bring a high price. I have been somewhat particular in giving the facts about this piece, as there are persons who always sneer at and doubt anything new and interesting that is discovered by other than themselves."



    Dr. Maris expanded on the number struck in the catalog in the 1886 catalog of his collection, where he stated, "I believe only about sixteen were ever struck." Today we know of the existence of 14 individual coins, this number being an increase of one over the 13 pieces that were known when we sold the Noble Family Collection specimen last year.

    This piece retains much of the light golden-tan color of the copper-nickel planchet in the centers. The obverse displays peripheral brown patina through CONFEDERATE STATES OF. The reverse shows more subtle coloration, yet is still slightly darker around the margin. The obverse has two identifying marks that positively identify this as the ex: Bowers inventory coin from 1989. A small planchet void is located near the obverse rim at 2 o'clock just above and to the left of the O in OF. A small cluster of shallow abrasions are seen just to the right of Liberty's hair between the hair and the A in AMERICA. The designer's initial L is strong on the right cotton bale, one of the diagnostics of originals vs. restrikes (where the L is noticeably weaker). Additionally, the coin has a medal turn, another diagnostic of original strikes; whereas Haseltine's restrikes have a coin turn.

    Below is the updated roster for original Confederate cents. We based this on the roster in Levi and Corell's book on Lovett and the CSA cents, and then expanded it greatly when we sold the Noble Family Collection coin last year.

    Roster of 1861 Original Confederate Cents
    1. PR64 NGC. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; F.C.C. Boyd; Boyd estate; John J. Ford, Jr.; John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part X (Stack's, 5/2005), lot 4478.
    2. PR63 PCGS. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; possibly John J. Ford, Jr.; Q. David Bowers; offered in Rare Coin Review numbers 19 and 20; purchased in April 1974 for the Noble Family Collection; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2013), lot 5139, where it brought $211,500.
    3. PR63 NGC. Possibly a coin in the possession of John J. Ford, Jr. which he sold to Dr. Irving Schuster, reportedly later handled by Q. David Bowers; Rare Coin Review #72 (Bowers and Merena, Spring 1989); Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick. The present coin.
    4. Choice Brilliant Proof. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; F.C.C. Boyd; Boyd estate; John J. Ford, Jr.; John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part X (Stack's, 5/2005), lot 4477; Q. David Bowers; 74th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 11/2009), lot 794 (grade per Ford auction appearance).
    5. PR62 NGC. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; Charles Steigerwalt; purchased by T. Harrison Garrett in late 1881; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Garrett Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1981), lot 1995; Jon Hanson; Donald Groves Partrick. This piece will be sold in a later Partrick Collection sale.
    6. Choice Brilliant Uncirculated, Prooflike. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; F.C.C. Boyd; Boyd estate; John J. Ford, Jr.; John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part I (Stack's, 10/2003), lot 321 (grade per Ford auction appearance).
    7. Choice Uncirculated. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; Kensington Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 12/1975), lot 431 (grade per 1975 auction appearance).
    8. MS62 NGC. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; Dodsen/Collier Collections (Bowers and Merena, 6/1984), lot 3421; New York City Auction (Spink Smythe, 11/2008), lot 475.
    9. MS60. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; Lee F. Hewitt Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1984), lot 2799; Hoke S. Green Collection (Bowers and Merena, 6/1985), lot 498 (grade per last auction appearance).
    10. AU58 PCGS. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; Aubrey and Adeline Bebee Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1987), lot 1545; West Coast collector, via Liz Coggan; William H. Labelle, Sr. Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 7/2005), lot 26.
    11. AU. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; Hain Family Collection (Stack's, 1/2002), lot 876 (grade per 2002 auction appearance).
    12. Extremely Fine. Robert Lovett, Jr.; Dr. Edward Maris; unknown intermediaries, most likely including Captain John W. Haseltine; F.C.C. Boyd; Boyd estate; John J. Ford, Jr.; John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part I (Stack's, 10/2003), lot 322 (grade per Ford auction appearance).
    13. A fifth specimen that was included in the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection at the time of its sale in 2003. Sold privately via Stack's and not described in any of the catalogs.
    14. A specimen in the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

    Other Appearances

    A. Coin Sale (Captain John W. Haseltine, 1/1874), lot 665, the first auction appearance.
    B. A coin in the possession of Dr. William Lee circa 1874, which he photographed and published in a book on Confederate notes.

    C. Dr. Edward Maris Collection (Harlan Page Smith, 6/1886), lot 304.

    D. Maris Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 11/1900), lot 850.

    E. A specimen exhibited by Judson Brenner at the 1914 ANS Exhibition. This piece may have passed to Virgil Brand in 1919, when Brenner sold him the Confederate cent dies and many other coins.

    F. George Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 3823, based on toning patterns this coin resembles number 10 above, but the match is not definitive.

    G. George M. Parsons Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1914), lot 2707, toning patterns resemble the coin in number 5 above, but the match is not definitive.
    H. John Story Jenks Collection (Henry Chapman, 12/1921), lot 6471, toning patterns resemble the coin in number 5 and letter G above, but the match is not definitive.
    I. Fred E. Olsen Collection (B. Max Mehl, 11/1944), lot 1632, reportedly struck on a large planchet, possibly an off-center restrike according to John Ford.
    J. Philpot/Zander Sale (B. Max Mehl, 11/1945), lot 2621, Extremely Fine.

    K. Will Neil Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1947), lot 3071.
    L. An eighth specimen owned by John Ford at one time according to Michael Hodder, no longer in the Ford Collection at the time of the 2003 sale.
    M. A specimen in the ANS Collection, accession number 1908.181.2 listed as an Original by Harold Levi and George Corell in The Lovett Cent a Confederate Story, but the ANS website says this piece is a Haseltine Restrike in copper.

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 521351)


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