1795 1C Reeded Edge, BN G4BN

PCGS#: 1383

Owner's Comments

S79 Newcomb/Hines/Sheldon

Expert Comments

Ron Guth: The following listing is an updated version of the Condition Census that appeared in the description of Lot 1143 from Bowers & Merena's 11/2008 auction:

PCGS VG-10. Ex: Dr. S.T. Millard; B. Max Mehl's sale of March 1915, lot 75; G. Kraft; Robert D. Book (5/1930); George H. Clapp, traded for a "famous 1794 Cent;" Harold R. Newcomb; J.C. Morgenthau & Co.'s sale of February 1945, lot 76; James Kelly's Fixed Price #21, #22, and #23 of 1945-1947; Celina Coin Co.'s sale of March 1947, lot 2037; James Kelly; James Kelly's sale of November 1947, lot 927; James Kelly; James Kelly's sale of April 1948, lot 1327; Christian M. Petersen; Hollinbeck Coin Co.; Hollinbeck Coin Co.'s sale of October 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.; Goldbergs 9/2009:128, $1,265,000.  This is the plate coin in Penny Whimsy by Dr. William C. Sheldon and United States Large Cents: 1793-1814 by William C. Noyes.  In it's 2009 appearance, this became the first Large Cent to sell for over $1 million.
VG-7. Ex: W. Elliot Woodward's sale of April 1890, lot 866; Chas. Steigerwalt; Hon. George W. Lewis; Henry Chapman's sale of June 1916, lot 633; Dr. Charles E. McGirk; Walter F. Webb (2/1937); George H. Clapp; American Numismatic Society Museum.
Good-6. Ex: Homer K. Downing, discovered in 1947 in a New York City coin dealer's junk box; 1952 ANA Sale (New Netherlands, 1952), lot 1712; K.P Austin; Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery, 1973); First Coinvestors; Pine Tree's sale of February 1975, lot 663; First Coinvestors (4/1976); Denis W. Loring (6/1976); Robinson S. Brown, Jr.; Superior's sale of September 1986, lot 105; Jack H. Robinson; Superior's sale of January 1989, lot 147; G. Lee Kuntz; Superior Galleries' sale of October 1991, lot 90; John R. Frankenfield (5/1995); Daniel W. Holmes (9/1995); Robinson S. Brown, Jr.; Superior's sale of January 1996, lot 112; W.M. "Jack" Wadlington; Dr. Ralph W. Rucker (8/2005).
Good-5. Ex: Henry Chapman, discovered in a large lot of old coins; Henry Chapman's sale of June 1916, lot 634; Henry Chapman; Henry Chapman's sale of June 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's sale of January 1975, lot 908; George Korsing; Hap Seiders; Ronald Cooper; Numismatic and Antiquarian Service Corporation's sale of November 1977, lot 96.
PCGS Good-4. Ex: 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; current consignor; Bowers & Merena 11/2008:1143, $402,500.  Possibly the same as the McKinney specimen listed below, but almost certainly a new discovery coin that was previously unknown in numismatic circles.
PCGS Genuine.  Discovered in 2010. X. Ex: 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's sale of February 1974, lot 414; Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery); Kagin's sale of November 1974, lot 51; Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery, 11/1974); Denis W. Loring (1/1975); Alan J. Brotman (Numismatic Gallery). This coin is a holed obverse brockage.

In addition, there are two additional pedigree listings for 1795 Reeded Edge Cents in the 2000 book Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Large Cents: 1793-1814. These are:

MS-60. Rumored to exist in a provincial European museum. Unverified.
Good-5. Ex: "old Texas collection;" L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr.; House of Davis McKinney's sale of January 1964, lot 227; L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr.; House of Davis McKinney's sale of December 1968, lot 36; L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr. Currently untraced. Our attempts to track down a copy of either or both of these two McKinney sale catalogs proved unsuccessful. Karl Moulton, however, has informed us that the McKinney catalogers provided only terse descriptions and no plates. In a subsequent conversation with noted early Copper specialist Tom Reynolds, we confirmed that there are no photographs or detailed descriptions of this coin known to exist. As such, we cannot completely rule out the possibility that the coin we are offering in this lot is the McKinney specimen that has been untraced since the late 1960s. We find it highly unlikely, however, that these two coins are the same, and it is more plausible that the McKinney specimen listed here was misattributed in the 1960s, was an electrotype or some other kind of counterfeit or has simply been lost to the numismatic community. (This cataloger--Jeff Ambio--would like to express his sincere thanks to both Karl Moulton and Tom Reynolds for providing invaluable information regarding the House of Davis McKinney catalogs and the so-called McKinney specimen of the 1795 Reeded Edge Cent.)
Gordon Wrubel: The 1795 Reeded Edge (Sheldon-79) is one of the rarest of all major large cent varieties. Only seven survivors are confirmed, all in low grade. In fact, the finest known is a PCGS graded VG10 coin. In September, 2009, the PCGS graded VG10 became the first large cent to sell for over a million dollars when it brought $1,265,000 in the sale of the Dan Holmes collection.

David Hall: There are only seven known examples of this "experimental" striking. The PCGS VG10 from the Dan Holmes collection is the finest known. It was sold at the Ira and Larry Goldberg auction of the Holmes Collection September 6, 2009 for $1,265,000. The buyer was Florida dealer Greg Hannigan, bidding on behalf of a private collector.

P. Scott Rubin: The 1795 Reeded Edge large cent is the first U.S. copper coin to reach the million dollar figure at auction. This coin is graded only Very Good-10 by PCGS and is the finest known. The reason this coin is so valuable can trace its desirability to the book Early American Cents 1793-1814 by William Sheldon. Dr. Sheldon numbered coins in his book in two categories the first group were coins that could be found by collectors and the second group coins that were so rare that they were called Non-Collectables or NC’s. So it was possible to collect all the regular numbered coins and finish the collection yet still not have every know variety.

The coin given the number 79 in his book was the rarest collectable coin in the numbered series. This coin was the 1795 Reeded Edge variety (the coin is also struck from dies not used with other edge types) which then became the most desirable and hardest coin in the numbered series to obtain, the stopper as it were of the Early Date Large Cents.

Over the years some of the NC coins have become more available than the 1795 S-79 and some collections of large cents have been put together lacking only this number. So waiting on the sidelines for years in some cases has been the only way to complete the Sheldon Numbered collection of Large Cents. When one appears a few collectors with deep pockets are there to compete hence the first million dollar large cent is the S-79.

Diameter: 28.00 millimeters Designer: Attributed to Robert Scot Edge: Reeded
Mintage: N/A Weight: 10.89 grams Metal Content: Copper

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades Survival Estimate Numismatic Rarity Relative Rarity by Type Relative Rarity by Series
All Grades 8 R-9.6 2 / 11 2 / 12
60 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 11 1 / 12
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 11 1 / 12

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 VG10 PCGS grade Clapp - Newcomb - Sheldon - Naftzger - Holmes - Goldbergs 9/2009, Lot 128, $1,265,000
2 VG8 Estimated grade   Steigerwalt - Clapp - American Numismatic Society
3 G6 estimated grade   Homer Downing - Robinson Brown - G. Lee Kuntz
3 G4 PCGS grade

The discovery coin for the variety.  David Proskey - Henry C. Hines - Dr. William H. Sheldon - Dorothy Paschal - Newport Sale, 2/1975 - NASCA 11/1977:96


5 G4 PCGS grade   Bowers & Merena 11/2008:1143, $402,500