The Edward Maris 1799 S-189 Cent, VF20

    1799 1C VF20 PCGS. S-189, B-3, R.2. The 1799 large cents, including two overdate varieties and one normal date variety, are the most important coins in the entire large cent series, with 1793 and 1804 following close behind. According to Del Bland, this specimen carries a grade of VF25, and it is tied for the sixth position in his Condition Census, with at least eight other pieces that also grade VF25.
    The majority of the 904,585 large cents struck in 1799 were actually dated 1798, while the exact mintage of pieces bearing the 1799 date is unknown. However, that original production was undoubtedly extremely small, as few survive today, and most survivors are in low grades, being placed in collections when more common dates, such as 1798, were discarded. Today it is estimated that only 900 to 1,000 cents bearing the 1799 date still exist. The current population implies an original mintage of 20,000 to 30,000 coins. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, several stories attempted to explain the rarity. One of those stories suggested that the coins went from the Mint to Africa, being traded for female natives.
    Both sides of this remarkable cent have mottled steel, tan, and maroon color with some weakness at the center of the reverse. Traces of deep green corrosion are barely visible. This important cent does have a few minor abrasions, but none of any significance. The surfaces have acquired a hard, glossy appearance over a long time interval. Highly unusual among the 1799 cents, the date and LIBERTY are both complete and full. The obverse is extremely sharp, and graded separately has the details of XF. The reverse is a little blunt, with the sharpness of VF20. Overall, although the coin is graded VF25 by Del Bland and listed as such in Walter Breen's Large Cent Encyclopedia, we prefer a conservative grade of VF20. Breen suggested that the 1799 Normal Date cents might have actually been struck in 1800, on the basis of a comparison of planchet quality with the cents dated 1800. Our EAC grade VF20.
    Ex: Dr. Edward Maris (H.P. Smith, 6/1886), lot 276; later, Federal Brand Enterprises (1/1963), lot 51A; later, Stuart A. Levine (4/3/1992); John B. MacDonald (1/1997); Robert C. Clark (Bowers and Merena, 8/2000), lot 285; later, Heritage (5/2009), lot 65.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 2246, PCGS# 1443)

    Weight: 10.89 grams

    Metal: 100% Copper

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

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2012
    2nd-5th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
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