The Ex: Eliasberg Finest Known 1794 S-26, B-16 Cent
    MS66 Red and Brown
    Tied for Fourth Finest PCGS Liberty Cap

    1794 1C Head of 1794 MS66 Red and Brown PCGS. CAC. S-26, B-16, R.2. Only three Liberty Cap large cents have received higher PCGS grades, one certified MS67 Red and Brown and two graded MS67 Brown. Recent auction results for the finest early large cents have proven staggering, from nearly $1.4 million for a Gem 1793 Chain cent to almost $900,000 for a 1794 Head of '93 cent. Collectors who seek the finest early cents or early type coins have limited opportunities as these delicacies are secured in long-term collections.

    The Red and Brown designation for early coppers is coveted, especially so on the cents of 1794, where survivors retaining any degree of mint-red coloration are seldom encountered. The numbers substantiate this claim: as of March 2013, PCGS has certified only 29 1794 cents with the Red and Brown label, regardless of variety or numeric grade. Furthermore, none have ever achieved the full Red designation in over 25 years of professional coin grading by PCGS. Early copper specialists, however, are much more interested in Condition Census information than the population data of third party certification companies. The current coin is the Clapp-Eliasberg specimen, which Noyes considers to be tied with the Sheldon coin as the finest known. The Eliasberg pedigree is noted on the PCGS green-label holder.

    Identifying a 1794 cent as the S-26 variety is relatively easy, especially in the later die states where the reverse exhibits two prominent die cracks. William Sheldon, in his groundbreaking treatise on early large cents, Penny Whimsy, provides exacting detail of these die flaws:

    "The O in OF has a short, curved projection from its left side, which is always present. Nearly all specimens have a break through E of STATES to the point of the upper left leaf. Most specimens, certainly two-thirds, have a heavy break from the first S of STATES to the C of CENT. Many clash marks, or traces of injury to the die are present. There are five berries on the left and six on the right branch. The fraction bar is long and pointed at both ends."

    This reverse, identified in the Breen reference as reverse die "J," was only used on the S-26 die marriage, thus simplifying attribution. Sheldon called this the "Severed Hair Strands" variety, due to the detached curls at the back of Liberty's head. This phenomenon was caused by excessive die grinding or polishing. Breen's Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents 1793-1814 describes eight die states for S-26; the current coin is Die State VII.

    The astonishing aesthetic qualities of this early cent are memorable. When rotated under a light, the original red mint bloom pierces through the mellowed reddish-brown patination. The uninterrupted luster is satiny and consistent throughout. Other than a few toning spots, hardly worthy of mention, the surfaces appear defect-free. This well-centered piece displays some minor rim weakness between 1 and 3 o'clock on the obverse, which is mentioned here only for the sake of accuracy. A splendid early copper with an impressive provenance, a beauty not to be missed. Population: 3 in 66 Red and Brown, none finer (3/13). Our EAC grade MS63.
    Ex: George Seavey; William H. Strobridge (1873 sale), lot 221; Lorin G. Parmelee, (New York Coin & Stamp Co., 6/1890), lot 686; J.F. Anger; John G. Mills, (S.H. & H. Chapman sale, 4/1904), lot 1238; George H. Earle, Jr., (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 3376; John H. Clapp (2/1942); Louis Eliasberg, Sr., (Bowers & Merena, 5/1996), lot 492; Anthony Terranova; Stack's (9/2005), lot 473; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 2667; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2009), lot 2034.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 223P, PCGS# 901375)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 100% Copper

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    24th-28th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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