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Lot 3032


Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3032
Date 1792
Side reverse
Grade 45
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 717
Denomination CENT
Description 1792 CENT Washington President Cent, General of the Armies Reverse, Plain Edge XF45 NGC. CAC. Baker-59, Breen-1234, 1995 COAC WA.1792.6, W-10690, R.6. 181.9 grains, 99% copper per NGC metallurgical tests. As noted in the previous lot, compelling evidence places the production of the 1792 Washington President cents at Newburyport, Massachusetts, from the hand of a talented young engraver named Jacob Perkins. However, others hold the traditional numismatic viewpoint that these pieces were coined at Westwood's private mint in Birmingham. The Washington Born Virginia obverse die was in the possession of the Perkins family until at least the late 19th century. One of the three varieties of Washington Born Virginia coppers shares the same reverse as this variety, and a second variety with that obverse shares the same reverse of the example in the previous lot. All of these pieces were clearly made by the same hand. Until John Kraljevich presented his compelling evidence, everyone believed these pieces were made in England. As truly American productions, the Washington President and Washington Born Virginia coppers are elevated to their rightful place among the most important pieces in the Early American field, equally as important as the Getz patterns. With an estimated population at fewer than 30 pieces, these coppers are even rarer than those made by Getz, and they should be considered every bit as valuable, if not more so. Smooth medium brown surfaces exhibit a few scattered marks on each side, consistent with the grade. A minor reverse rim bruise is noted at 5 o'clock. Otherwise, this is an extraordinary example for the grade. Slight central weakness appears on the reverse, as usual, opposite the highest points of the obverse design. This obverse and the previous reverse form a third variety, known in copper, silver, and gold. Eric P. Newman, owner of the unique gold example, has long considered that coin to be a presentation piece given to George Washington by a representative of Westwood's Birmingham Mint. In his 1995 article "Coinage Featuring George Washington," George Fuld noted: "It was common practice to make sample presentations to heads of state or committees when attempting to secure a contract." In light of the February 29, 1792 letter from Nicolas Pike to President Washington, transmitting an example of Jacob Perkins' work, we speculate that the transmitted piece was the very same gold example now in Newman's collection, originally serving the same presentation purpose. Ex: Waldo Newcomer; B. Max Mehl; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $55812.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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