C-4, B-4, Low R.3. EAC 50, PQ! Manley Die State 2.0, with the die defect atop the 7. This wonderful example of this first year issue has nearly ideal color over smooth, blemish-free surfaces with well-defined, full flowing hair. It's an impressively sharp and smooth representative of this popular single-year type. Chocolate-brown dominates both sides, with a glimpse of deeper brown toning present on the lower left obverse and central reverse. Liberty's cheek and forehead display a hint of friction, but the designs are exquisitely impressed aside from minor softness on some of the letters in AMERICA. Marks are minor for the grade, and the only identifiers are two faint, superficial marks behind the cap, and two blemishes of similar small size below and between AM of AMERICA. These are inconspicuous because of subsequent natural toning, and the quality and beauty of the piece remains irrefutable. Thomas Jefferson made the half cent the lowest denomination in the 1784 “Notes on Coinage” that he submitted to the federal government. Eventually, after much delay and Congressional inaction, Jefferson's proposal emerged as the Mint Act of April 2, 1792. David Rittenhouse, Adam Eckfeldt, and Robert Birch combined to execute the design of the small copper coin with Birch and Joseph Wright engraving the dies. By May 1793 over 30,000 copper half cent planchets had been prepared and on July 20 the Philadelphia Mint coined its first 7,000 specimens. Mint employees produced a further 24,934 pieces on July 26 and the final 3,400 examples on September 18. Having delivered a total of 35,344 1793 half cents, the Mint closed on the latter date so that its staff could flee Philadelphia and its annual yellow fever epidemic.
The Liberty Cap - Head Left design was used only in 1793 and, along with the 1793 Chain Cents, was one of the first coins struck at the U.S. Mint. Four die varieties, of roughly equal rarity, make up the entire mintage of just over 35,000 pieces. High grade pieces are very rare, as are coins with nice surfaces, perfect planchets, and original, chocolate-brown color. Demand for this date is very high because it is a first and only year of the type.
Cohen 1 - Scarce
Cohen 2 - Scarce
Cohen 3 - Scarce
Cohen 4 - Scarce
Baker 27 - Washington Head Half Cent
Sources and/or recommended reading:
"American Half Cents - Second Edition" by Roger S. Cohen, Jr.
"Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793-1857" by Walter Breen
Related collector organizations:
Early American Coppers Club
George H. Earle, Jr. Collection - Henry Chapman 6/1912:3598, $35 - Clarence S. Bement Collection - Henry Chapman 5/1916:413, $35 - S. H. Chapman - Dr. Christian A. Allenburger Collection - B. Max Mehl 3/1948:311 - Philip M. Showers Collection - Stack's, sold privately in 1969 - Willis Harrington duPont Collection - Fred S. "Freddy" Werner, sold privately in 2/1976 - Superior, sold privately in 2/1976 - Joe Flynn and Son Rare Coins, Inc. (Joseph S. Flynn, Jr.), sold privately on 4/20/1976 - R. Tettenhorst Collection - Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society - Missouri Cabinet (Mocab 93.4.1) - Goldbergs 1/2014:6, $920,000
T. James Clarke Collection - Charles M. Williams Collection - Numismatic Gallery 12/1950:659 - Harold Bareford Collection - William J. Bareford Collection - Jules Reiver Collection, sold privately in 6/1984 - Jim McGuigan Collection
Charles Morris Collection - S.H. & H. Chapman 4/1905:857 - Allison W. Jackman Collection - Henry Chapman 6/1918:851 - Virgil M. Brand Collection - Horace and Armin Brand - Armin Brand, consigned to the following on 8/1935 - Burdette G. Johnson - Douglas Weaver, sold privately in 1/1972 - George W. "Hank" Rodgers, sold privately on 3/27/1972 - R. Tettenhorst Collection - Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society - Missouri Cabinet (Mocab 93.3.1) - Goldbergs 1/2014:4, $718,750 - Larry Hanks and Richard Burdick, as agents for the following) - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack's/Bowers 2/2016:3001, $446,500 - Stack's/Bowers 2/2016:3001, $446,500
Frederick Reed "F. R." Alvord Collection - S. H. Chapman 6/1924:8 (as Raw Uncirculated), $68 - Henry Chapman, privately - Howard Rounds Newcomb Collection (valued by Newcomb at $32.50), sold privately in 1935 - B. Max Mehl, who purchased the entire half cent collection of Howard Rounds Newcomb in 1935, advertised it for sale on page 814 in the November 1935 issue of The Numismatist, and sold the collection intact to E. H. R. Green) - "Colonel" Edward Howland Robinson "E. H. R." Green collection (appraised by Frederick Charles Cogswell "F. C. C." Boyd for the Green Estate at $15 on 8/9/1937), sold in 4/1943 for $30.01 - Partnership of Eric P. Newman & Burdette G. Johnson (St. Louis Coin Co.) - Burdette G. Johnson, valued by his estate at $125 - Charles J. duPont Collection - Stack's “Anderson-Dupont” 11/1954:1029 (as Raw Mint State), $675 - Harold S. Bareford, 4/1978 - William J. Bareford, sold 6/1984 (via Julius "Jules" Reiver) - R. Tettenhorst Collection - Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society - Missouri Cabinet (Mocab 93.1.3) - Goldbergs 1/2014:1, $379,500
Joseph Brobston Collection - Stack's FPL 1/1963, offered at $2,500 - Stack’s “Gardner Collection 2/1965:1109, $4,800