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    Description

    1795 S-79, B-9 Reeded Edge Cent, VG Details
    The 'House of Davis McKinney' Specimen
    Tied for Fourth Finest of 10 Known
    Untraced for 50 Years

    1795 1C Reeded Edge, S-79, B-9, Low R.7 -- Corrosion -- NGC Details. VG. Our EAC Grade Good 5. A coin dealer's list in 1964 offered a 1795 Sheldon-79 Reeded Edge cent for sale. That listing prompted large cent researcher Del Bland to record the coin in his Condition Census for the variety, although the coin was unseen at that time, and has been recorded as an "untraced" specimen in every published census since that time. However, Dr. William H. Sheldon saw the coin in 1964 and assigned the grade of Good 5.

    The Reeded Edge cent variety was discovered in 1862 when an example was described with a "Milled Edge." A second example appeared in an 1890 W. Elliot Woodward catalog, and is now part of the ANS Collection. The third example, and currently the finest known, was discovered in 1915 and grades VG8. Six others have been located since that time, and the current House of Davis McKinney specimen brings the census to 10 known examples.

    The 1795 S-79 Reeded Edge cent is the rarest of nearly 300 Sheldon-numbered varieties, and it is rarer than 14 of the Sheldon NC varieties. The obverse and reverse dies of the famous Reeded Edge large cent were not used for any other varieties in 1795, simplifying the authentication process. NGC has certified this piece as VG Details, Corrosion. The present example is the fourth of 10 different examples that Heritage Auctions has handled. There have been 11 different firms or individuals who have handled or owned two different specimens. Just three people, Dr. William H. Sheldon, Denis W. Loring, and Greg Hannigan, have owned three different examples. Heritage is the only entity to handle four different examples of the 1795 Reeded Edge cent.

    The purpose of the edge reeding is unknown, although past students of the series have speculated that the reeding served as an anti-counterfeiting device. About half of the original edge reeding remains visible on this example. The cataloger believes that the Reeded Edge cent was a transitional issue between the Lettered Edge (thick planchet) coins and the Plain Edge (thin planchet) pieces.

    Both sides of this example display pleasing chestnut-brown color with finely granular surfaces. The obverse has two shallow dents on the cap and an insignificant scrape right of the date. The reverse has a shallow, thin scrape through the upper leaves of the wreath. The individual imperfections are blended with their surroundings and are barely visible. This is a pleasing example of the famous large cent rarity, one that will be the centerpiece of an advanced cabinet.

    Census of 10 Known Examples:
    1. VG8. Dr. S.T. Millard; B. Max Mehl (3/1915), lot 75; G. Kraft; Robert D. Book (5/1930); George H. Clapp, traded for a "famous 1794 Cent"; Howard R. Newcomb (J.C. Morgenthau & Co., 2/1945), lot 76; James Kelly (Fixed Price #21, #22, and #23, 1945-1947); Celina Coin Co. (3/1947), lot 2037; James Kelly (11/1947), lot 927; James Kelly (4/1948), lot 1327; Christian M. Petersen; Hollinbeck Coin Co. (10/1953), lot 278; Dr. William H. Sheldon (4/1972); R.E. Naftzger, Jr. (2/1992); Eric Streiner; Anthony Terranova (12/1993); Daniel W. Holmes, Jr. (Goldberg Coins, 9/2009), lot 128; Adam Mervis Collection (Heritage, 1/2014), lot 2528.

    2. VG7. W. Elliot Woodward (4/1890), lot 866; Charles Steigerwalt; Hon. George W. Lewis; Henry Chapman (6/1916), lot 633; Dr. Charles E. McGirk; Walter F. Webb (2/1937); George H. Clapp; American Numismatic Society.

    3. Good 6. Homer K. Downing, discovered in 1947 in a New York City coin dealer's junk box; 1952 ANA Sale (New Netherlands, 8/1952), lot 1712; K.P. Austin; Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery, 1973); First Coinvestors; Pine Tree (2/1975), lot 663; First Coinvestors (4/1976); Denis W. Loring (6/1976); Robinson S. Brown, Jr. (Superior, 9/1986), lot 105; Jack H. Robinson (Superior, 1/1989), lot 147; G. Lee Kuntz (Superior Galleries, 10/1991), lot 90; John R. Frankenfield (5/1995); Daniel W. Holmes (9/1995); Robinson S. Brown, Jr. (Superior 1/1996), lot 112; W.M. "Jack" Wadlington (8/2005); Ralph W. Rucker.

    4. Good 5. From an old Texas Collection; L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr.; House of Davis McKinney #22 (1/1964), lot 227; House of Davis McKinney (12/1968), lot 36; L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr.; McKinney Estate; the present coin.

    Mr. McKinney wrote the following descriptions for this coin a half-century ago:
    "227. 1795. The Very Rare Reeded Edge. The obverse die of this variety, i.e., Sheldon 79, was not used on any other variety of large cent. In our opinion it resembles the workmanship of 1794, more than cents of 1795. The reverse die was used on one variety in 1796. It is furthermore our opinion that while this variety does not constitute a pattern, the workmanship is indicative of an experimental piece. Very Good. We feel this lot measures up to the Sheldon plate coin, especially with the entire 'toothed' border of the reverse quite bold. Almost as rare as the 'famed' Strawberry Leaf Cent. Extremely Rare. We definitely regard this lot as a four-figure lot item, though will consider partial trade. In point of rarity and condition, it rates favorably with a VG Silver Center Cent, without silver plug, recently valued at $3,750."
    House of Davis McKinney #22 (1/1964), lot 227.

    The Excessively Rare Reeded Edge of 1795
    "36. The obverse die of this variety, i.e., Sheldon 79, was not used on any other variety of large cent. In our opinion it resembles the workmanship of 1794, more than cents of 1795. The reverse die was used on one variety of 1796. It is furthermore our opinion that while this variety does not constitute a pattern, the workmanship is indicative of an experimental piece. The condition of this extremely important piece is fine. We feel this lot measures up to the Sheldon plate coin, especially with the entire 'toothed' border of the reverse quite bold.

    "When this lot was offered in January 1964, almost five years ago, several multiple four-figure bids were received. One, well in excess of $4,000, and at the last minute by phone a bid of roughly $7,000, some of which was to be taken in trade. This was permissible but it turned out that the trade pieces were red uncirculated 1909-S.V.D.B. cents and the negotiations were not completed.

    "This specimen is as important as a United States large cent can be. The result of this offering, five years later, may result in excess of a $10,000 offer. It is extremely interesting to note that the workmanship of the die of the Liberty Head much resembles the famed painting of George Washington, also done in 1795, by Gilbert Stuart. As to this comparison, it is in evidence in two or three areas, most particularly at the chin and jaw. When Mr. Stuart painted this portrait, General Washington was wearing wooden false teeth."
    House of Davis McKinney (12/1968), lot 36.

    Sheldon examined the coin prior to the first sale, and wrote to McKinney on January 8, 1964. Sheldon's letter is published in the July 1990 issue of Penny-Wise:

    "This one is a new discovery. Not previously reported to my knowledge. Very grateful to you for sending it to me, as Mrs. Paschal and I are going to bring out a final edition of the Cent Book within another year or two, and need to get the condition census lists as nearly up-to-date as possible. This becomes the fourth in collectors' hands, and the variety is now R-7, of course, instead of R-8. I would grade your coin G-5 (between G and VG), and a very lovely and pleasing G-5. The Newcomb coin, VG 8, brought $185 in 1945. I think it would bring $1200 today, and I will not be very surprised at a 4-figure price at your sale, for this coin of yours. We are sending an airmail letter to Mr. Chas. Ruby about this coin. You will probably hear from Ruby, who wants a Reeded Edge badly and is one of the top cent collectors. He has half a peck or so of 99s and 93s - especially 1799s - and might give you a really profitable trade. Since I have the Newcomb coin, and Mrs. Paschal has one near it, we will not try to buy this one unless you find it on your hands at, say, about the $700 level."


    5. Good 5. Henry Chapman, discovered in a large lot of old coins; Henry Chapman (6/1916), lot 634; Henry Chapman (3/1917), lot 549; Howard R. Newcomb (2/1939); Henry C. Hines (1945); Dr. William H. Sheldon; Dorothy Paschal (1/1974); Denis W. Loring (5/1974); Dr. Robert J. Shalowitz; George Korsing; American Auction Association (1/1975), lot 908; George Korsing; Hap Seiders; Ronald Cooper; NASCA (11/1977), lot 96; Heritage (1/2011), lot 5422; Pete Miller.

    6. Good 4. First seen at Baltimore in March 2010 and again in Baltimore on June 17, 2010, the property of John Baker, who discovered the coin in a group of coins given to him by his father many years earlier; Goldberg Coins (9/2010), lot 796; Robert Padula.

    7. Good 4. Brower's Stamp and Coin in Florence, Oregon (circa 2003/2004), purchased over the counter as part of a large group of coins; unknown collector; Brower's Stamp and Coin, repurchased from the heirs of the preceding; a second unknown collector; Bowers and Merena (11/2008), lot 1143; Terry Denman.

    8. Fair 2. Christy's Auction House (Indianapolis, Indiana,1999); Charles C. Knapp (1/22/2010); M. Scott Barrett (3/6/2010); M. Scott Barrett and Steven K. Ellsworth, jointly (5/1/2010); Steven K. Ellsworth, solely (5/26/2010); L. Michael Lawrence (9/1/2010); Steven K. Ellsworth (9/2010); Steven K. Ellsworth and M. Scott Barrett, jointly (5/5/2012); Gerald M. Stubblefield (6/10/2012); Steven K. Ellsworth and M. Scott Barrett, jointly (5/7/2013); M. Scott Barrett, solely (7/8/2014); Donald Stoebner (via Shawn Yancey).

    9. Fair 2. From the obverse and reverse dies of the S-79, but without visible edge reeding. Heritage (1/2012), lot 3034; Greg Hannigan; Adam Mervis; Greg Hannigan; Shawn Yancey; Ken Myers, Jr.

    10. No assigned grade. Holed brockage. Homer K. Downing, discovered in 1944 in a Chicago coin dealer's junk box; Dr. William H. Sheldon (1945); 1952 ANA Sale (New Netherlands, 1952), lot 1712a; Dr. Charles L. Ruby (12/1972); Superior Stamp & Coin Co.; Superior (2/1974), lot 414; Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery); Kagin's (11/1974), lot 51; Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery, 11/1974); Denis W. Loring (1/1975); Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery).
    From The House of Davis McKinney.


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

    View all of [The House of Davis McKinney ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    6th-11th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,962

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