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May 16 , 2014

COIN OF THE WEEK

1798/7 LARGE 1C, S-152, R2+, NGC AU58 BN
Click on Coin Image to enlarge

1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel

1798/7 1C, S-152, R2+, NGC AU58 BN - $23,900.00

1798/7 Large Cent - 1798/7 1C, S-152, R2+, NGC AU58 BN. In its population report, NGC shows no 1798 overdate S-152 graded above VF and, similarly, PCGS shows none graded above AU53. The present piece, graded AU58 BN, is the finest certified specimen obtainable.

Please contact me by email or telephone 1-800-624-1870 to reserve this great coin.

This near-Mint State overdate 1798/7 Large Cent is the finest known at NGC and PCGS. The coin has lovely red-brown toning with extremely clean, hard, and glossy surfaces. Although there is slight build-up around the lettering, hair ribbon, date, and some of the wreath, there are few abrasion marks, none worthy of individual description. The strike is above average with full details on most of Liberty’s hair, the leaves of the upper wreath, and about two-thirds of the dentils. Unlike many other Draped Bust Large Cents, the present piece is well centered and completely original, as seen by the presence of the colors. The overdate is clear and easy to see.

The S-152 obverse has a large 8 that has been cut over a 7, and the left top of the 7 shows clearly above the 8. The IB of LIBERTY is high, and the Highest Wave of Hair is between the ER. The Junction of Hair and Forehead is below the left side of the upright of T. The date is evenly spaced and closer to the dentils than to the bust. The reverse shows a very wide fraction with the numerator and denominator distant from the fraction bar. The right wreath stem points to the inner serif of the left foot of the second A in AMERICA. The crossbar of the E is connected with the upper part of the letter. A leaf merges with the back of the C in CENTS. A leaf under the T touches its right stand. The Point of the Lowest Leaf is almost under the right upright of the N in UNITED, and the Point of the Highest Leaf is under the right side of the second S in STATES. The stem of the second berry on the left lies on the point of a leaf, and the berry hangs beyond it.

The coin designed by Robert Scot, shows Liberty in profile facing right. Her hair is tied with a ribbon in the back but most of it falls to her shoulder with a curl below the truncation. Each strand of hair ends in a curl. LIBERTY is above and the date is below. The reverse shows an open wreath of laurel tied with a bow. Within the wreath, on two lines, is the denomination, ONE CENT. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the wreath at the periphery. At the bottom, between the ribbon ends is the fraction 1/100, and the edge is plain.

The Drape Bust Cent was first struck in 1796. It was the second design type for the year. The design by Robert Scot was from a drawing by Gilbert Stuart that was first used in 1795 for a silver dollar. In 1800 a similar motif was used on the half-cent. A portrait of Ann Bingham is the source of the design. John Eckstein translated this drawing to models for Engraver Scot. Evidently Eckstein made the models poorly, which might explain why Stuart’s family refused to acknowledge his role in the coinage design.

Thomas Jefferson chose Scot to be the first Chief Engraver of the United States Mint on November 23, 1793. Scot was born in 1744 in Edinburgh, Scotland or England. (Documentary evidence is lacking as to where he was born.) He was trained as a watchmaker in England and learned engraving afterwards. He moved to the United States in 1777, where he worked as an engraver of plates, bills of exchange, and office scales. During the Revolution, he was an engraver of paper money. In 1780 he was made the State Engraver of Virginia. He moved to Philadelphia the next year. He was appointed Chief Engraver of the United States Mint on November 23, 1793 by David Rittenhouse, Mint Director. His salary in 1795 was 1,200 per year. The Mint Director received only $800 dollars per year more. Scot’s ability to make dies was limited, and he was advanced in years with failing eyesight. His work was somewhat less than that done in Europe at the time, and Scot was criticized for its poor quality. He was responsible for designs of most of America’s first coins. These include the Flowing Hair and the Draped Bust motifs used on the early silver coins, and the gold quarter eagle, half eagle and eagle. Scot also designed the 1794-1797 half-cent, the 1800-1808 draped bust half-cent, and the Thomas Jefferson Indian Peace Medal. Scot died on November 1, 1823 and was succeeded by William Kneass as Chief Engraver.

The early Mint in Philadelphia had many challenges. Conditions were poor even at times chaotic. Each of the specialists, the designers, engravers, and press operators were men who had previously worked in other fields. Coin manufacturing was a new trade for them. Production was sporadic. For the new Mint to coin each of the mandated denominations, it took four years. This delay was partly because of inexperience and governmental obstacles. Bonds that were unrealistically high were impediments to engravers working with precious metals. Congress was not united on the need for a government mint since private and foreign coinage seemed to work. Because of the non-existent or low production numbers in the early years of the Mint, foreign copper, silver and gold circulated along with American made coins for many years until they were later demonetized.

Record keeping in the Mint’s early years was fairly inaccurate. At the end of the eighteenth century Philadelphia had recovered from the British occupation and Revolutionary War. It was the second largest city in the English-speaking world, but it could do nothing to protect its citizens from the mosquito-borne epidemic of yellow fever. Its wealthy citizens went to the countryside to escape, and the poor grimly waited their fate. Of course these annual epidemics caused havoc with all manufacturing that required continuity, such as a coinage sequence. The Mint shut operations during the late summer and early fall every year. In addition to yellow fever, disorder at the Mint was also caused by chronic bullion shortages and coin dies that would wear out and had to be re-engraved because they were not taken out of production until they failed completely. Often dies were locked up and later taken out of storage without great attention and care. There was also a jealous Chief Engraver, Robert Scot, who was in his seventies and had failing eyesight.

Very Truly Yours,

Tom Pilitowski
www.usrarecoininvestments.com
Toll Free:
1-800-624-1870
Email: TomPilitowski@yahoo.com

 


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