1864/1858 Indian/Flying Eagle
1864/1858 1C Indian/Flying Eagle Cent, Judd-362, Pollock-428,
R.8, PR65 Cameo NGC.
'Two-Headed Cent,' Judd-362, PR65 Cameo
Finest Certified, One of Three Known
Design. A two-headed cent. The obverse is struck from the Indian Head cent die of 1864, with no L on ribbon, while the "other obverse" is made from the regular-issue 1858 Small Letters Flying Eagle cent die. Struck in copper-nickel with a plain edge.
Commentary. This marvelous Gem Cameo is the finest certified of this R.8 pattern, and it is almost certainly the finest known. As a reminder, the Small Letters die is easily distinguishable by the separated AM in AMERICA--on the Flying Eagle cent side. This dual-dated coin is strictly a flight of fancy, bearing as it does two heads but no tails. It accordingly also lacks a denomination of any kind.
The presence of a piece such as this speaks volumes about both the breadth and depth of the coins in the Lemus Collection, a simply unparalleled assemblage and one of the finest pattern offerings in decades. Notably, this pattern is so rare that not only was it lacking in many other pattern offerings of the last several decades--Rogers Fred, Sieck, Bass, Garrett--but the present piece appears certainly to be the finest available at any price. This piece has no doubt been viewed as "something special" ever since the first recorded example came to numismatic light, in an October 1868 Mason and Company sale, according to USPatterns.com.
Physical Description. Close examination confirms the No L Indian cent die of 1864 and the Small Letters Flying Eagle cent obverse die of 1858. Under magnification a few trivial flecks appear on each side, but there is no mentionable evidence of contact, and a perusal confirms the Gem grade of this coin and provides confirmation that it is much nicer than the other certified example in the census below, a still-nice PR62 that we handled in 2007. This piece possesses much more original color, in shades of rose-tan and pinkish-red, than the PR62 that was an even brown shade. The frosted devices show considerable contrast against the depth of reflectivity in the fields. The strike is decent although short of bold, with the normal design weakness showing on the feather tips of the Indian Head side and the center breast of the Flying Eagle side.
Census. USPatterns.com notes that "three or four examples are known," but we can trace only three:
1. Gaston DiBello Collection (Stack's, 5/1970), lot 263, where it realized $775, an extremely high price for a cent of that period; Stack's (12/1980), lot 437; Auction '86 (Paramount, 7/1986), lot 1798. The present piece, finest certified and likely finest known.
2. Lahrman (Abe Kosoff, 2/1963), lot 918-16. Proof.
3. Grand Central (Paramount, 11/1974), lot 345; ANA (Heritage, 3/2007), lot 1575, which realized $63,250; Stack's (7/2008), lot 4179, which fetched $115,000. PR62 PCGS.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (NGC ID# 29GU, PCGS# 60532)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]
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