1799 1C S-189 (High R-2) PCGS VF-30 CAC. A lovely
example of the key date in the large cent series.
A favorite among numismatists since the 19th century,
only about 1,000 pieces are still in existence from
an unknown mintage. Estimates range widely, with some
estimates as low as 30,000 pieces and some as high
as 225,000 pieces minted.
One of the key diagnostics that comes with the 1799
large cent is the striking of especially the obverse.
On the majority of all known examples, either LIBERTY
or the date is weak. This was caused by a misalignment
of the dies, making only a handful of pieces with
both the legend, and date sharp. On the present coin,
the date is very sharp and LIBERTY, although slightly
weak, is much better struck than on most examples.
Finding an example with such a sharp date requires
long searching and pure luck, as they are very rare.
The 1799 large cent has been widely publicized, with
a result that most, if not all serious coin collectors
know about the rarity of this issue. Josheph Mickley,
one of the first serious coin collectors in this country,
widely publicized his search for a cent of this year.
In 1816, he started to search, as this was an issue
from his birth year and immediately noticed the rarity
of this piece. Eventually he found one, a coin now
graded AU and one of the finest pieces of this issue.
When coin collecting became popular with the general
public, after the small cent was introduced, the prices
of this particular issue strongly increased. When
people looked everywhere for large cents gathered
together during the previous decades, the 1799 was
nowhere to be found. As a result, in the earliest
known price guide for US coins, the 1799 was listed
as “very rare” with prices 8-10 times
as much as other early large cents. Only the 1793
cents, the first year of issue brought stronger prices,
The present coin is a true PQ coin, as confirmed
by the CAC sticker. Lovely brown surfaces, with a
slightly mottled reverse toning. As previously noted,
the obverse is strong, a diagnostic rare for this
issue. Whenever a piece finer than Fine turns up,
serious collectors have to consider every example,
as choice pieces, such as this coin are very scarce.
This is a rare opportunity to obtain one of the finer
pieces of this popular early large cent.