LARGE 1C, S-152, R2+, NGC AU58 BN Click on Coin Image to
1C, S-152, R2+, NGC AU58 BN - $23,900.00
Cent - 1798/7 1C, S-152, R2+, NGC AU58 BN. In its
population report, NGC shows no 1798 overdate S-152
graded above VF and, similarly, PCGS shows none graded
above AU53. The present piece, graded AU58 BN, is
the finest certified specimen obtainable.
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This near-Mint State overdate 1798/7
Large Cent is the finest known at NGC and PCGS. The
coin has lovely red-brown toning with extremely clean,
hard, and glossy surfaces. Although there is slight
build-up around the lettering, hair ribbon, date,
and some of the wreath, there are few abrasion marks,
none worthy of individual description. The strike
is above average with full details on most of Liberty’s
hair, the leaves of the upper wreath, and about two-thirds
of the dentils. Unlike many other Draped Bust Large
Cents, the present piece is well centered and completely
original, as seen by the presence of the colors. The
overdate is clear and easy to see.
The S-152 obverse has a large 8 that
has been cut over a 7, and the left top of the 7 shows
clearly above the 8. The IB of LIBERTY is high, and
the Highest Wave of Hair is between the ER. The Junction
of Hair and Forehead is below the left side of the upright
of T. The date is evenly spaced and closer to the dentils
than to the bust. The reverse shows a very wide fraction
with the numerator and denominator distant from the
fraction bar. The right wreath stem points to the inner
serif of the left foot of the second A in AMERICA. The
crossbar of the E is connected with the upper part of
the letter. A leaf merges with the back of the C in
CENTS. A leaf under the T touches its right stand. The
Point of the Lowest Leaf is almost under the right upright
of the N in UNITED, and the Point of the Highest Leaf
is under the right side of the second S in STATES. The
stem of the second berry on the left lies on the point
of a leaf, and the berry hangs beyond it.
The coin designed by Robert Scot,
shows Liberty in profile facing right. Her hair is
tied with a ribbon in the back but most of it falls
to her shoulder with a curl below the truncation.
Each strand of hair ends in a curl. LIBERTY is above
and the date is below. The reverse shows an open wreath
of laurel tied with a bow. Within the wreath, on two
lines, is the denomination, ONE CENT. The legend UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the wreath at the periphery.
At the bottom, between the ribbon ends is the fraction
1/100, and the edge is plain.
The Drape Bust Cent was first struck
in 1796. It was the second design type for the year.
The design by Robert Scot was from a drawing by Gilbert
Stuart that was first used in 1795 for a silver dollar.
In 1800 a similar motif was used on the half-cent. A
portrait of Ann Bingham is the source of the design.
John Eckstein translated this drawing to models for
Engraver Scot. Evidently Eckstein made the models poorly,
which might explain why Stuart’s family refused
to acknowledge his role in the coinage design.
Thomas Jefferson chose Scot to be
the first Chief Engraver of the United States Mint
on November 23, 1793. Scot was born in 1744 in Edinburgh,
Scotland or England. (Documentary evidence is lacking
as to where he was born.) He was trained as a watchmaker
in England and learned engraving afterwards. He moved
to the United States in 1777, where he worked as an
engraver of plates, bills of exchange, and office
scales. During the Revolution, he was an engraver
of paper money. In 1780 he was made the State Engraver
of Virginia. He moved to Philadelphia the next year.
He was appointed Chief Engraver of the United States
Mint on November 23, 1793 by David Rittenhouse, Mint
Director. His salary in 1795 was 1,200 per year. The
Mint Director received only $800 dollars per year
more. Scot’s ability to make dies was limited,
and he was advanced in years with failing eyesight.
His work was somewhat less than that done in Europe
at the time, and Scot was criticized for its poor
quality. He was responsible for designs of most of
America’s first coins. These include the Flowing
Hair and the Draped Bust motifs used on the early
silver coins, and the gold quarter eagle, half eagle
and eagle. Scot also designed the 1794-1797 half-cent,
the 1800-1808 draped bust half-cent, and the Thomas
Jefferson Indian Peace Medal. Scot died on November
1, 1823 and was succeeded by William Kneass as Chief
The early Mint in Philadelphia had many
challenges. Conditions were poor even at times chaotic.
Each of the specialists, the designers, engravers, and
press operators were men who had previously worked in
other fields. Coin manufacturing was a new trade for
them. Production was sporadic. For the new Mint to coin
each of the mandated denominations, it took four years.
This delay was partly because of inexperience and governmental
obstacles. Bonds that were unrealistically high were
impediments to engravers working with precious metals.
Congress was not united on the need for a government
mint since private and foreign coinage seemed to work.
Because of the non-existent or low production numbers
in the early years of the Mint, foreign copper, silver
and gold circulated along with American made coins for
many years until they were later demonetized.
Record keeping in the Mint’s
early years was fairly inaccurate. At the end of the
eighteenth century Philadelphia had recovered from
the British occupation and Revolutionary War. It was
the second largest city in the English-speaking world,
but it could do nothing to protect its citizens from
the mosquito-borne epidemic of yellow fever. Its wealthy
citizens went to the countryside to escape, and the
poor grimly waited their fate. Of course these annual
epidemics caused havoc with all manufacturing that
required continuity, such as a coinage sequence. The
Mint shut operations during the late summer and early
fall every year. In addition to yellow fever, disorder
at the Mint was also caused by chronic bullion shortages
and coin dies that would wear out and had to be re-engraved
because they were not taken out of production until
they failed completely. Often dies were locked up
and later taken out of storage without great attention
and care. There was also a jealous Chief Engraver,
Robert Scot, who was in his seventies and had failing