1794 Liberty Cap 1c


Sheldon 29, Breen 11

Ex Hayes, Newcomb, Adams, Husak, Gerrie

Sheldon 29, Breen 11 (Dies 9-F) : LIBERTY in a high arc, hair locks ending in a near vertical line. Reverse with long ribbon end at right and R in AMERICA extended toward lower left serif of I. Breen’s obverse 9, used first for Sheldon 28 – Breen 10, paired with reverse F, employed next to strike Sheldon 30 – Breen 12. Breen’s Die State III, showing extensive obverse die cracks, including from the lower cap down through the bottom three locks of hair, from near the tip of Liberty’s nose horizontally to the rim at right, joined by a near vertical crack down into the right field. A very fine reverse die crack from the rim nearly bisects the R in AMERICA.

Medium brown in color with slight vestiges of original mint red about the reverse letters near the rim. The surfaces are lustrous and satiny, as we should expect from a Gem early cent. Struck on a choice flan with any post-striking impairments both few and trivial. This is certainly an exceptional example among all 1794 cents, and likely the finest survivor from this die pair.

Noyes #22675 as MS60 Choice, and tied for finest known with the Clapp-ANS S.29 (1946.143.78) in his census. Bland MS60 behind the ANS specimen, which he calls MS61. However, upon direct comparison, a strong argument can be made that this is the better of the two finest known contenders.

PCGS #26772320


William Wallace Hays, until his death in July 1899. Hays’s collection of 1794 cents was purchased by Charles Steigerwalt in 1900, who combined it with the 1794 cent collection of Henry Phelps, also adding coins from his own stock, and offered the merged collection as the Hays-Phelps set for $1,000 in the August 1906 issue of “The Numismatist”. The combined collection was sold intact to Charles Zug, and later offered individually in the Lyman Low sale of March 1907 as “The Complete and Matchless Collection of the Hays-Phelps 1794 U.S. Cents, the Property of Mr. Charles G. Zug”, with this coin included as lot 24.

Next Howard R. Newcomb, until his death in January 1945; J. C. Morgenthau & Co., February 1945, lot 41; Willard C. Blaisdell, sold privately September 1976; Del Bland; John W. Adams; offered by Bowers & Ruddy in their 1982 fixed price list of the Adams collection as lot 21 at $9,500; Del Bland, October 1984 to Dr. Allen Bennett; later privately to Walter Husak; Heritage Auctions “The Walter J. Husak Collection”, February 2008, lot 2031 at $97,750 as PCGS MS65 BN; Paul Gerrie; Ira & Larry Goldberg “The Paul Gerrie Collection”, February 2013, lot 18 at $189,750 as PCGS/CAC MS65+ BN; back to Walter Husak; Heritage Auctions “The Collection of Walter J. Husak and The Liberty Cap Foundation” (Husak II), January 2024, lot 2023 at $102,000 as PCGS/CAC MS65+ BN.

William Wallace Hays was an early specialist collector of 1794 Cents by die variety, and author with Édouard Frossard of Varieties of United States Cents of the Year 1794 (1893). Howard R. Newcomb is a name well known to large cent collectors as author of United States Copper Cents 1816-1857, the standard for middle and late date large cents to this day. Newcomb’s collection was sold at auction by J. C. Morgenthau & Co. in two parts – the early dates in February 1945, followed by the middle and late dates in their sale of May 1945.

Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, “Rare Coin Review”, December 1982 No. 46