Pair of 18th century rarities lead $26.9 million Heritage US coins sale



2016-08-15 12:48:50

A pair of rare 18th century American coins led the pack at the recent Heritage Auctions ANA sale in California.

The U.S Coins Signature Auction saw two early American cents take the top spots, as it soared to a final total of $26.9 million.

Leading the sale was a 1792 Judd-5 Birch Cent, one of only two known specimens in the world and by far the finer of the pair, graded MS61 Brown NGC. Formerly part of the celebrated Norweb Collection, and later the equally renowned collection of Donald G. Partrick, the remarkable rarity sold for $517,000.

Next was a 1792 Silver Center Cent, one of just 14 surviving examples, which feature a silver plug worth ¾ of a cent in the middle of a copper coin worth ¼ of a cent.
The idea to create a coin with an intrinsic metal value the same as its face value was originally suggested by Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers.

(Images: Heritage)

(Images: Heritage)

The central silver plug was intended to make the coin difficult to counterfeit, but it also made it too difficult to produce on a wide scale. A handful of test pieces were produced within the walls of the newly-opened U.S Mint in Philadelphia, but the coins never made it to circulation.

Having only been discovered in the 1960s, the coin – graded SP35 PCGS Secure CAC – auctioned for only the second time in its history for $352,500.   

"As the first coins produced inside the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, these two coins played an important role in the development of the United States' monetary system," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions."Interest in these rarities extended well beyond the historical: Both are in excellent condition for their age and type."

Further notable results included an 1880 Flowing Hair Stella, Judd-1657, graded PR65 NGC, which sold for $352,500; a 1907 Indian Eagle, graded MS66+, which sold for $346,625; and a 1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, graded PR67 PCGS Secure, which fetched $305,500.

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