DESCRIPTION Lovely Mint State 1806 CentUnderrated Condition Rarity
Finer than the Garrett, Eliasberg and Norweb Specimens1806 Draped Bust Cent. S-270, the only known dies. Rarity-1. MS-63 BN (PCGS).
Outstanding quality and eye appeal for this underrated issue in the Draped Bust cent series. This is a nicely centered example with a near-fully denticulated obverse border, reverse border with scant denticulation due to die state (given below). The peripheral lettering on the reverse is also a bit soft due to die state, but the legend is fully legible. A bit lightly struck on the left branch of the wreath, the strike is sharper overall on the obverse, on which side we note particularly crisp detail to Liberty's portrait. Frosty golden-brown surfaces display generally even mellowing of original mint color. Splashes of warmer steel-brown patina are evident on Liberty's cheek and in the right obverse field, less so within the protected areas around a few of the leaf clusters in the wreath on the reverse. The surfaces are hard, tight, and smooth apart from a tiny spot in the hair behind Liberty's forehead, minuscule carbon fleck in the reverse field close to the leaf below the letter F in OF and a dull mark on the reverse border at the letter U in UNITED. Breen Die State III, Noyes C/B.
There is only one die variety known for the 1806, just like 1804 and 1809, but this date has never shared those years' flashy reputation for rarity. Only collectors attempting to build collections of high quality Mint State coins ever realize just how challenging this issue can be. In the William Festus Morgan sale of 1932, which cataloged a collection built on the premise of quality, James Macallister devoted more space to the 1806 than any of the 1793s, 1799s, 1804s, or any other lot except for the Jefferson Head cent. Calling Morgan's 1806 "the finest 1806 cent we have ever seen," Macallister noted "the rarity of the cents of this year in Uncirculated condition has never been appreciated; we don't recall one that brought much over $100 while 1793s which are common by comparison have brought up to $1000." As late as 2013, when the Paul Gerrie specimen sold, MS-63 BN was the highest grade ever assigned to an 1806 cent by PCGS. Husak's was PCGS AU-50, Rasmussen's was NGC AU-55, and Robbie Brown never owned one better than EF. Garrett and Eliasberg both owned circulated examples, and Norweb's was only Fine. Here, then, is a significant offering for advanced large cent enthusiasts. Tied for CC#5 in the Bland census with an EAC grade of MS-60. The 2015 Noyes census says MS62(MS60) Average Plus and tied for CC#3.PCGS# 1513
PCGS Population: 4; 2 finer in this category (MS-65 BN finest). There is also an MS-66 RB listed at this service, the Halpern-Naftzger-Reynolds specimen.Ex Paramount International Coin Corp.'s Grand Central Auction Sale of November 1976, lot 77; R. Cooper; NASCA's Matthew Bryan Collection sale, November 1977, lot 139; C. Douglas Smith; Dr. Dane B. Nielsen; C. Douglas Smith; Bertram Cohen, March 30, 1985; C. Douglas Smith; Dr. Robert A. Schuman; Superior's sale of September 2004, lot 593; our sale of the ESM Collection, August 2020 Auction, lot 1051. The plate coin for Die State C/B in the 2015 edition of the Noyes large cent reference.