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    Description

    1796 C-2, B-2a Half Cent, MS65 Red and Brown
    Tied for Finest Known

    1796 With Pole, C-2, B-2a, High R.4, MS65 Red and Brown NGC. CAC. Our EAC grade MS67. 85.0 grains. Breen Die State I. Manley Die State 1.0. An important year in American coinage, 1796 was the first year that saw production of every denomination authorized in the Mint Act of 1792. That may explain its popularity among collectors such as John Whitney Walter (known as Mr. 1796) and Bernard Edison (AKA R. Tettenhorst) who sold his 1796 collection privately.

    This coin and an example that we offered in August 2018 as part of the Red Headed Copper Collection are, in our opinion, tied for the finest surviving 1796 With Pole half cents. Another example, pedigreed to the Gene Reale and D. Brent Pogue Collections is a close third. Our Condition Census includes nine other Mint State pieces. With a total estimated population of about 110 coins, the presence of 12 Mint State examples is rather remarkable. Four of those coins were located in England during the past few decades. We know that at least one English citizen traveled to the United States and visited the mint in 1794-95, returning with samples of American coins; possibly others did as well. Coin collecting was well established in England in the late 18th century, as the Conder token series attests. Samples of American coinage would be considered novel additions to English numismatic holdings.

    Perhaps half of the original mint red appears on the obverse, with splashes of mint red on the reverse. The balance is lovely chocolate-brown, and both sides exhibit satiny, slightly reflective fields. Very minor roughness appears at the upper left reverse. The strike is nicely centered and both sides exhibit slight weakness of the border. This piece clearly demonstrates the fine workmanship of the first U.S. Mint in the 1790s.

    Census of Mint State 1796 With Pole half cents known to us:

    Our census of the top 1796 With Pole half cents includes 11 examples that grade MS60 or finer. At least four of those have appeared in England during the past 30 years. EAC grades in the following roster are the opinion of the cataloger based on either examination of the actual coins or on photographic evidence. Other observers may have different opinions regarding the grades and order of these pieces.

    MS67 EAC. MS66+ Red and Brown PCGS. Spink America (12/1997), lot 347; Red Headed Copper Collection (Heritage, 8/2018), lot 5017.
    MS67 EAC. MS65 Red and Brown NGC. The present coin. An English gentleman; Spink America (6/1997), lot 390; John Whitney Walter Collection (Stack's, 5/1999), lot 1706; Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick.
    MS65 EAC. MS66 Red and Brown PCGS. An old English Collection; Alan Thomas (London); Superior (1992, privately); Gene Reale Collection (Sotheby's, 1/1998), lot 4; John Whitney Walter Collection (Stack's, 5/1999), lot 1707; Stack's (10/2000), lot 23; D. Brent Pogue (Stack's Bowers, 2/2016), lot 3009.
    MS64 EAC. MS65+ Red and Brown PCGS. Howard Rounds Newcomb (sold privately, 1935); B. Max Mehl (privately, 1935); Col. E.H.R. Green; Green Estate (4/1943); Eric P. Newman and B.G. Johnson; B.G. Johnson; Charles J. Dupont Sale (Stack's, 11/1954), lot 1053; Doris E. Nelson; TAD Collection (Stack's, 3/1975), lot 822; R. Tettenhorst Collection; Eric P. Newman Education Society; Missouri Cabinet (Goldberg Coins, 1/2014), lot 37.
    MS64 EAC. MS64 Red and Brown PCGS. Photographed at PCGS Coin Facts.
    MS63 EAC. MS64+ Red and Brown PCGS. J.F. McCoy Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 5/1864), lot 757; J.N.T. Levick Collection; Joseph Zanoni Collection; Henry Miller Collection (Thomas Elder, 4/1917), lot 1032; Howard Rounds Newcomb Collection (sold privately, 1926); Wayte Raymond; Virgil Brand; New Netherlands; F.C.C. Boyd Collection; New Netherlands (privately, 1955); Kagin's (3/1964), lot 1455; Kagin's (11/1973), lot 980; Dr. Herbert I. Ketterman; RARCOA; R. Tettenhorst (privately, 4/1982); Jim McGuigan Collection.
    MS63 EAC. MS62 Brown NGC. The next lot. Virgil Brand; J.A. Duggan; Col. C.W. Cole; Robert F. Batchelder (11/23/1967); Donald G. Partrick.

    MS63 EAC. Brobston Collection (Stack's, 1963 FPL); Charles Jay Collection (Stack's, 10/1967), lot 82.
    MS62 EAC. Uncirculated. Mark Hillary Estate (Woolley and Wallis, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, 1/2013), lot 579. Estimated at £25,000-£30,000, this piece had a hammer price of £185,000, with the buyer's premium and value added tax, the total was £234,950, or just over $379,000.
    MS60 EAC. MS65 Brown PCGS. Photographed at PCGS Coin Facts.
    MS60 EAC. MS64 Brown PCGS. River Oaks Collection (Bowers, 11/1976), lot 400; Bruce Amspacher; New England Rare Coin Galleries; New England (4/1980), lot 900; Anthony Terranova; private collection; Stack's (3/1986), lot 790; Stack's (7/2008); Stack's Bowers (8/2012), lot 11167.
    MS60 EAC. MS60 Brown (Estimated Grade). G.M. Klein (W. Elliot Woodward, 5/1888), lot 2048; Col. James W. Ellsworth; Wayte Raymond and John Work Garrett; Hillyer Ryder Collection and Estate; New Netherlands (privately); Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 23; Stack's (1/1992), lot 287.

    Additional Example:

    Uncirculated. Leon Bookman Collection (Stack's, 1946). Probably one of those listed above.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2227, Variety PCGS# 35099, Base PCGS# 1028)

    Weight: 6.74 grams

    Metal: 100% Copper


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    Proxy Bidding Ends
    April
    23rd Friday 11:50 am CT
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    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
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    This lot is in: 3 - Signature® Floor Session (Live Floor, Live Phone, Mail, Fax, Internet, and Heritage Live):
    (Lots 3560-3790) - 12:00 PM Central Time, Friday, April 23, 2021.
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    Additional Location Info:
    Heritage Auctions
    2801 W. Airport Freeway
    Dallas, TX 75261



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