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1793 Wreath PCGS AU58 Vine and Bars Edge Large Cent

I would appreciate inputs on this coin from any member of the forum who is interested and/or knowledgeable in EAC. This 1793 Wreath PCGS AU58 Vine and Bars Edge Large Cent (Sheldon-8) has been on the market for a very long time. I cannot find any provenance on the coin. The eye appeal is good except for a very bad hit on the lower reverse. It is currently offered for sale by a respected dealer (whose identity one could find with a little research) at the exact amount shown on the PCGS Price Guide for the grade. My questions are:

a) How could this kind of damage have occurred to such a valuable coin? It must have happened recently because it has not tarnished over.

b) Is it reasonable that PCGS would have straight graded it with this defect?

c) Should the coin warrant a PCGS Price Guide level or should it be deeply discounted?

Comments

  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,177 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If that coin hasn't sold in a while then there is a reason. The price is too high for the condition its in. Damaged coins usually sell at a discount depending on how severe.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • RLSnapperRLSnapper Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is a beautiful Cent. However I would pass on it. That hit is way too distracting...you will always see it first and for that kind of $$$$ patience is the key. I have passed on coins with far less distraction.

  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,177 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is a shame because it is beautiful. I wouldn't mind having that coin, but not for anywhere close to guide.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,242 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm not shocked that it's straight graded. I occasionally see ultra rare pieces like this with 'issues'. I think there's more leeway given on coins like this. Still, what a shame. I'm trying to fathom how something like this happened to begin with. Monster coin.

    Dave

    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • goldengolden Posts: 8,811 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You will always see that hit.

  • TrampTramp Posts: 616 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, who ever did damage it, I bet their heart sank when it happened. I know mine would have plus I'd be sick to my stomach everytime that memory popped in my head. Still a beautiful coin, 230 years old.

    If I could land it at a steep discount I could easily look past that little hit.

    USAF (Ret.) 1985 - 2005. E-4B Aircraft Maintenance Crew Chief and Contracting Officer.
    My current Registry sets:
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Carson City Morgan Dollars (1878 – 1893)
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Lincoln Cents (1909 – 1958)
    ✓ Morgan Dollar GSA Hoard (1879 – 1891)

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 8,398 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Boy, that exposed raw metal looks like a flesh wound. Unfortunate.

    BST: endeavor1967, synchr, kliao, Outhaul, Donttellthewife, U1Chicago, ajaan, mCarney1173, SurfinHi, MWallace, Sandman70gt, Ricko, mustanggt, Pittstate03, Lazybones, Walkerguy21D, coinandcurrency242 , thebigeng, Collectorcoins, JimTyler, USMarine6, Elkevvo, Coll3ctor, Yorkshireman, CUKevin, ranshdow, Jzyskowski1, CoinHunter4, bennybravo, Centsearcher, braddick, Windycity, ZoidMeister, mirabela, JJM, RichURich

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,089 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Dave99B said:
    I'm not shocked that it's straight graded. I occasionally see ultra rare pieces like this with 'issues'. I think there's more leeway given on coins like this. Still, what a shame. I'm trying to fathom how something like this happened to begin with. Monster coin.

    Dave

    I don't understand why that should be. If a coin has damage, scratch, dings, ect, because it's rare why should it get a free pass and not be graded as detailed?

  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,242 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @alaura22 said:

    @Dave99B said:
    I'm not shocked that it's straight graded. I occasionally see ultra rare pieces like this with 'issues'. I think there's more leeway given on coins like this. Still, what a shame. I'm trying to fathom how something like this happened to begin with. Monster coin.

    Dave

    I don't understand why that should be. If a coin has damage, scratch, dings, ect, because it's rare why should it get a free pass and not be graded as detailed?

    I totally agree.

    Dave

    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • NumisOxideNumisOxide Posts: 10,940 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wonder how that happened! You think tooled to remove corrosion maybe?

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,089 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NumisOxide said:
    Wonder how that happened! You think tooled to remove corrosion maybe?

    Not even that, messed with is messed with!

    I was looking at a few coins not to long ago, they were listed on an auction. One was a 1837 no stars dime and the other was a 1853 arrows quarter, both in PCGS ms holders. When I looked close I noticed something. I called and talked to someone to look at them and he came back and reviewed the coins with me. Long story short, they both had scratches in the fields, I thought maybe it was on the holder but no, it was on the coin Both of the coins were straight graded!

  • raysrays Posts: 2,305 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2023 7:52PM

    Most high-grade early large cents like this one have been examined, catalogued and photographed by, Bill Noyes. You might check his US Large cent books and see if this specific example is photographed. I would not be surprised if by EAC standards that coin was graded 50 sharpness, average minus surfaces, net EF 40.

  • roadrunnerroadrunner Posts: 28,303 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2023 8:39PM

    The coin is extremely sharp and looks essentially uncirculated otherwise. I suspect there are MS61/62 pieces out there with as much 'wear' as this one. So AU58 is probably the "net" grade. If that hit were on the front of the coin, or the center of the reverse, it might not have straight graded. The damage on the coin could be decades old. It takes time to tone back copper. The PCGS price guide is generally a retail price for coins without major issues. So no surprise the current seller so far has been unable to get PCGS price guide on this one.....the real price for a clean one could be well under price guide.

    This particular seller has been around for decades and works the very high end of the rarity spectrum. And their selling model does seem to be to ask for a very strong price and just sit with it. They don't seem to mind holding on to coins for years. I do note they also have a PCGS MS61 example of this same coin for about $18K more. That coin has more wear than this one. It also has 2 light scratches across the obverse figure (cheek and neck). The reverse has half a dozen planchet streaks that are fairly deep and somewhat distracting, though mint-made. I actually find the AU58 a more wholesome specimen. The comparison of two does suggest the 58 was net graded from unc. It's almost expected that a 1793 US Mint coin is going to have issues that are forgiven.....while a later 19th century or 20th century coin with those same issues would be details graded. You don't grade 1793 the same as 1893. If you're considering buying the coin, you ought to have your own top notch dealer doing the negotiating for you.

    Barbarous Relic No More, LSCC -GoldSeek--shadow stats--SafeHaven--321gold
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The issue is certainly distracting,, however, on that coin, I could live with it. I like old copper, and that is very old copper. Cheers, RickO

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,043 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 17, 2023 8:41AM

    The mint had major issues with the quality of the copper it was putting into its half cents and cents during this period, which was the Summer of 1793. Many of these coins have planchet issues. Perhaps the most famous one is the 1793 C-4, which is plated in Roger Cohen's book. It has a huge lamination on the obverse. The coin graded AU, but that large, mint caused defect knocked the value way down.

    The trouble with coins like the one in the OP is with the collectors who are interested in this sort of thing. Given the prices they are willing to pay, they will be hesitant to pay top dollar for something like this. The good thing is that the defect on the the lower part of the reverse. If it were on the obverse, but the date, it would be much worst. The bad thing is that it's there, but the target audience tends to be very fussy.

    This coin would not be a good buy for the full retail price guide. The fact that the current seller has it for a very long time indicates that.

    On the other end of a scale, a dealer had an 1802 half dime in a VG holder for a very long time. He had $155,000 marked on it. I really wanted the piece, but thought that the price was too high by a lot. I figured that it was worth about $125,000. It eventually went to auction at Heritage, and that was about what it brought.

    BTW, this coin is not plated in Bill Noyes' book. The trouble is six out of the 12 top examples of the S-8 that he cites are not plated. This one may have been one of those, but there is no way to know.

    Given Noyes' conservative grading nature, this piece might not have made his list.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • raysrays Posts: 2,305 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 17, 2023 10:47AM

    Looking up the 1793 S-8 variety in the most recent CQR (Copper Quotes by Robinson, 20th Ed. 2011), the condition census is listed as follows (sharpness grade followed by surface quality):

    1: MS63, one Choice example

    2-6: Ch 55, two choice and three average examples

    7-8: 50, two average examples

    9-11: 45, one choice, two average examples

    12-13: 40 two average examples

    14-18: 35, five average minus examples

    In average surface condition, he lists values for the following sharpness:

    50: $100,000
    45: $85,000
    40: $60,000
    35: $47,500
    30: $35,000
    25: $20,700
    20: $20,000
    15: $12,500
    12: $6,500
    5 $1,750

    A more contemporary value could be based upon the recent 1/13/22 sale of the finest known S-8 by Heritage Lot 3743 for $408,000 in a PCGS MS67BN (formerly, PCGS MS68BN) holder:

  • renomedphysrenomedphys Posts: 3,409 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It’s an S-8, not an S-7. Play at 50/53 levels. Pass at 58

  • raysrays Posts: 2,305 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found this coin. It sold for $38,775 in a Goldberg sale of the Thom Reynolds collection in 2016 as lot#2. Here is the description by CVM and Dell Bland:

    1793 S-8 R3 Wreath Cent, Vine & Bars Edge. PCGS graded AU-58. Very attractive glossy medium chocolate brown and olive with hints of very faded mint color remaining in protected areas on the obverse. Satiny mint frost covers the fields and protected areas and this cent offers outstanding eye appeal. The only marks are a dull pinprick in the middle of the jawbone, a trio of closely spaced dull but relatively fresh contact marks at the border beads left of the denominator, and a streak of microscopic planchet voids (as struck) at CA in AMERICA. Otherwise this cent is flawless in every respect. Only the small marks at the border beads are visible to the unaided eye. LDS, Breen state III. The bisecting die crack on the reverse is clear and there is subtle swelling at the E in CENT. Struck very slightly off center to K-5 but all the border beads are clear on both sides. Graded EF45 net VF35 and tied for CC#15 in the Noyes census, his photo #39550. That seems quite harsh for this beautiful cent. Our grade is AU50 sharpness net EF45. The attribution and Reynolds provenance are noted on the PCGS Secure label. Pop 2; 3 finer at PCGS for the variety, 1 in MS62, 1 in MS64, and 1 in MS67 (PCGS # 35456) .
    Estimated Value $30,000-UP.
    Ex American Numismatic Society-transferred from the ANS to R. E. Naftzger, Jr. 1/26/2001 as part of the settlement for cents switched out by Dr. Sheldon-Jim McGuigan 10/2009.

    Realized $38,775

  • hbarbeehbarbee Posts: 163 ✭✭✭

    Yes, I found that auction result earlier today but had not gotten to updating this discussion. I am very appreciative of all the great inputs posted so far.

    My initial thoughts on this coin when I first saw it was that it would be worth the 60K all day long if not for the contact marks, but with them I felt like 40K would be more fair and that is backed up by the 2016 auction results.

    I was surprised that the auction description as posted by rays above made such minor mention of the marks. Seems like the knowledgeable EAC folks who have posted here view them as more significant.

  • raysrays Posts: 2,305 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The dealer listing the OP coin for sale, has a long history of paying strong prices for rare coins at auction, and then asking significant markup when retailing the same coins.

    Here is one example:
    1795 half cent C-6a plain edge, no pole PCGS MS63BN sold for $36,000 as lot 3039 in the Jim McGuigan sale by Heritage last August.

    This dealer is now asking $57,500, a 60% markup.

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