||June 2020 U.S. Coins Auction
||Exceptional 1788 RR-26 Vermont Copper Rarity
The Carlotto Plate Coin
1788 Vermont Copper. RR-26, Bressett 16-T, W-2190. Rarity-6. Bust Right. VF-20 (PCGS).
This is a superior quality example of a variety that numbers among the classic rarities in the Vermont copper series. Both sides are pleasingly toned in golden brown that deepens to medium brown in the fields. Gray-brown outlines many of the design elements. The strike is well centered and nicely executed, the lack of denticulation on both sides characteristic of the variety and attributable to the use of slightly smaller planchets for RR-26 (as opposed to the planchets used for most examples of RR-24 and RR-25, which share the same obverse die). Only the date and the top of the letter B in LIB on the reverse are off the flan, all other peripheral features on both sides are bold to sharp. Central detail is also bold, for both the variety and grade, with some sharper detail remaining in the more protected areas of the effigy and seated figure. The diagnostic bisecting reverse crack through the seated figure's head is plainly evident. The surfaces appear hard and overall smooth; a loupe reveals only a trace of microporosity that is easily overlooked, and just as easily forgiven. A minor flan flaw at the obverse border just past 6 o'clock serves as a useful provenance marker, as does a second, more minor planchet flaw near the border below the end of the effigy's bust. With solid technical quality and a lovely appearance, this is a RR-26 Vermont copper that would be difficult to improve upon. Sure to see spirited bidding at auction, and worthy of a strong premium.
RR-26 represents the first use of Bressett Obverse 16 in this series, the only die with a cross after VERMON and AUCTORI. All known examples are in an early obverse die state without the horn-like break at the effigy's neck that later becomes prominent in the RR-25 and, especially, RR-24 pairings. The aforementioned bisecting crack on the reverse is always evident, suggesting that the die either cracked before striking or very early in the press run; in either case, this break resulted in the early retirement of the die, certainly after only a small number of coins were struck, explaining the rarity of examples.
The finest RR-26 to be offered at auction remains the primary Cole specimen (Cole:1182, more recently Partrick:5811). Cole:1183 was also cataloged as Extremely Fine in our (Bowers and Merena's) January 1986 sale, but with an area of encrusted oxidation in the right obverse field. Frontenac:108 was cataloged as VF-25 for the obverse, but only VG-10 for the reverse due to roughness and porosity on that side. Ford I:61 is a nice Choice VF, as is Logan-Steinberg:126, the latter deaccessioned from the Vermont Historical Society as a duplicate. Virtually all other examples of this variety grade Fine or lower, often with heavy porosity or other problems. With superior technical quality and strong eye appeal, it is little wonder that Tony Carlotto selected the present example to serve as the plate coin for this famous variety in his 1993 reference on Vermont coppers.
Provenance: From the Q. David Bowers Collection. Earlier ex Howard Kurth. The plate coin for the variety in the 1993 reference on Vermont coppers by Tony Carlotto.
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