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Sale 85

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Lot 191

1796 S-96 R6 Draped Bust with Reverse of 1795 PCGS graded MS63 Brown. Variety with a "Hyphenated Date 7-9." Frosty medium steel brown and light chocolate with traces of faded mint red remaining in protected areas on both sides, especially on the reverse. The only defects are a dozen carbon spots scattered over the obverse, the largest of these at the dentil tips before the chin. The reverse is choice and the toning on that side is a few shades lighter than the obverse. LDS, Breen state II. The bisecting reverse die crack is strong. This reverse suffered the bisecting crack very soon after the die was placed into service, and the early failure accounts for the rarity of the variety. The obverse, on the other hand, performed admirably while striking 6 different die varieties before being retired. While this cent is not perfect, it's significance to collectors of die varieties would be difficult to overstate. Until this piece was discovered earlier this year in England, the finest of the approximately 2 dozen Sheldon-96 examples known to collectors was a rather scruffy piece net-graded F12. And the condition census falls off quickly from there. Collectors of high grade or choice 1796 cents have been forced to settle for a significantly inferior example--or do without the variety altogether. Until now, that is. We expect a very spirited battle for this lot, and estimating a value is truly a "shot in the dark." Our grade is MS60. PCGS population 1; none finer (not even close).
Estimated Value $200,000-UP.
Offered unattributed in an auction conducted in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England by Woolley & Wallis on 1/21/2015, lot 682.


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