For What It’s Worth – April/May/June 2021

By Gary Miller

I trust that you are staying safe and keeping well as we move into the second year of the pandemic. While there remains a great deal of activity in the coin business, we are still months away from getting back to seeing each other again at coin shows.

I have not had many inquiries over the past year so I have chosen a subject to write about. United States large cents! 

The U.S. mint at Philadelphia began producing copper large cents in early 1793 and continued until 1857, at which time it was replaced by the small cent. Canada, by contrast, issued large cents from 1858 until 1920 when we began the transition to small cents which lasted until their demise in 2012 ( the U.S. still produces pennies).

     United States large cents represent an interesting area of collecting. There were several design changes over the years, changes in the personification of Liberty on the obverse, from the “Flowing hair” type (1793), to the addition of a “Liberty cap” behind the head (1793-96), to a “Draped bust” (1796-1807), followed by the “Classic head” (1808-14), and then the “Matron head” (1816-39), pictured here, and finally came the “Braided hair ” type (1839-57).    

While it would be a challenging task to build a date collection, considering all the overdates and varieties, it would, however make an interesting type collection. The example shown here is a “Matron head” large cent dated 1819 in extremely fine (EF) condition and would currently sell for about $300 Cdn.   

We are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Please everyone stay safe and we will be able to meet up again soon. 

Happy hunting!

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