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    1792 Silver Center Cent, Judd-1, VF30
    First Issue Struck in the U.S. Mint
    Ex: Mickley-Brand-Queller

    1792 P1C One Cent, Judd-1, Pollock-1, High R.6 VF30 NGC. The patterns of 1792 are the rarest series of patterns ever struck and each is a classic of U.S. coinage in its own right. This exclusive series includes the Silver Center cent, Birch cent, half disme, disme, and the Eagle on Globe quarter. Of these five issues, only the half disme and disme ever circulated. Of the other three pattern issues, the Silver Center cent was an experimental striking that was intended to create a coin with an intrinsic value of one cent on a smaller copper planchet by inserting a silver plug in the center. Until recently, the Silver Center cent was believed to be the brainchild of Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, because of Thomas Jefferson's well-known report to President George Washington:

    "Th. Jefferson has the honor to send the President two cents made on Voigt's plan by putting a silver plug worth ¾ of a cent into a copper worth ¼ of a cent."

    Voigt was probably responsible for the design of the coin, but recent discoveries by Pete Smith, Joel Orosz, and Len Augsburger indicate the credit for the innovative dual-metallic concept actually belongs to famous patriot and author Thomas Paine. Paine exchanged thoughts on the prospective coinage with Jefferson in a September 28, 1790-dated letter, including the observation "to give the cents the intrinsic value they ought to have by weight, they will be too heavy and bulky for the use they are intended for." He suggested three possible solutions to this problem:

    "1st. Making silver and copper in fusion; 2d. Plating the copper with silver; 3d. Plugging the copper with silver. But against all of these, there are very capital objections."

    Paine did not believe any of his suggestions would be practical for high-volume coinage operations, and calculated that any copper coinage based on the intrinsic value of the metal would be impractical, but he noted:

    "Plugging copper with silver is the least detrimental to the intrinsic value of the metals, because they are the easiest separated ..."

    Events would prove Paine right, as the Mint experimented with two of his concepts in 1792 (the Silver Center cent and the Fusible Alloy cent) and found them both unsuitable. Concerns about counterfeiting doomed the Fusible Alloy cent and production difficulties with the Silver Center cent were too great to overcome. The Silver Center cent was probably the first issue actually struck within the confines of the Philadelphia Mint. A limited mintage of Silver Center cents was produced in December of 1792 to demonstrate the design to President Washington and the Congressional committee charged with amending the Mint Act of 1792 in regard to the copper coinage. In the end, Congress changed the specification for the cent, reducing the amount of copper in each coin, with a commensurate reduction in size and weight. Production of copper cents with the new specifications began in 1793. Today, only 14 examples of the Silver Center cent are extant and examples are treasured by collectors from many different collecting disciplines.

    Liberty faces right with hair flowing behind. The obverse periphery reads LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY, with 1792 just below the bust. The reverse has a wreath tied with a ribbon at the bottom; ONE CENT is within. Around the rim is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with the fraction 1/100 below. Struck in copper with a silver plug in the center with a reeded edge. Medallic alignment. Average diameter is about 22.9 mm.

    The Present Coin
    The coin offered here has an illustrious pedigree all the way back to pioneering collector Joseph Mickley, gracing some of the most important collections in numismatic history along the way. In our opinion, this coin is close to XF overall, with the devices on each side well-centered on the flan. The upper right reverse shows some slight evidence of corrosion, and there two distinguishing planchet voids in the obverse fields, one before Liberty's face and the other at the base of the second E in SCIENCE. On the obverse the silver plug touches Liberty's ear, runs along the jawline, and covers several of the strands of hair. On the reverse the plug covers the right half of the E and almost all of the N in CENT, as well as the lower half of the N in ONE. Even, darker brown color over both sides is interrupted by the brightness of the silver plug. The overall presentation is most attractive for this classic early American rarity.
    Ex: Joseph J. Mickley Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1867), lot 2135; Colonel Mendes I Cohen, Cohen Collection (Edward Cogan, 10/1875), lot 380; William Sumner Appleton; A. Dohrmann, via Woodward in a private transaction; Dohrmann Collection (Woodward, 3/18820, lot 437; Lady of Western New York Collection (Woodward, 2/1887), lot 816; Virgil Brand; Brand-Lichtenfels Collections (Abner Kreisberg and Hans M.F. Schulman, 3/1964), lot 1106; Gibson Collection (Stack's, 11/1974), lot 14; John L. Roper (Stack's, 12/1983), lot 425; Stuart Levine and Anthony Terranova; Bertram Cohen; San Diego Show (Dana Linett, 10/1988), lot 9; Denis Loring; Stack's, privately; David Queller (Lemus Collection); Queller Family Collection (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 1500; offered at fixed prices by Heritage in 2010 and 2011; Philadelphia Signature (Heritage, 8/2012), lot 5015.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2948, PCGS# 11001)

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    4th-9th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,857

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Rasmussen Special Edition Catalog
    This hard bound volume contains the magnificent Wes Rasmussen Large Cent Collection, formed by a former President of the Early American Coppers society which was auctioned at the 2005 Florida United Numismatic Auction. Reserve your copy of this remarkable volume for just $75 today.
    Rasmussen Signed Limited Edition Catalog
    A hard bound limited library edition of the Wes Rasmussen Collection Catalog, signed by Wes Rasmussen, Mark Borckardt, Greg Rohan, and Denis Loring, is available while supplies last. Only 100 produced. Reserve your copy of this remarkable limited edition signed volume for just $150 today.
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