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ANACS Certifies Rare 1792 Silver Center Cent
By CoinLink

ANACS, America’s oldest grading service, recently certified a rare 1792 silver center cent. According to early American specialists, only 14 of the pattern pieces are known.

1792 Silver Center Cent

ANACS graded the coin VG10 Details, Scratched and attributed it as a Judd-1. According to Dr. J. Hewitt Judd’s classic study, United States Pattern Coins, Experimental and Trial Pieces, America’s Rarest Coins, the coin is this country’s first pattern piece, hence the designation Judd-1.

The piece was struck at the Philadelphia Mint the same year the Mint was established, 1792. That year, the Mint struck nearly a dozen different patterns. The patterns were created to illustrate various designs and to test possible metallic contents for future coins.

The 1792 Silver Center Cent was an attempt to make a convenient sized coin with an intrinsic value of one cent. The alternative—the one that was followed–was a coin containing one cent worth of copper, thereby requiring the piece to be significantly larger and less convenient. The Silver Center Cent features a small copper planchet with a small hole in the center into which a silver plug was inserted. It’s thought the silver plug had an intrinsic value of ¾ of a cent.

The pattern’s obverse design features a flowing hair Liberty, facing right, the inscription LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY and the date, 1792. The reverse has a wreath with a ribbon at the bottom enclosing the words ONE CENT. Outside the wreath is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the fraction 1 / 100, located at 6 o’clock. It is widely accepted that the pattern is the work of Henry Voigt, one of the Mint’s first employees. As Dr. Judd wrote, “Today, this is a famous and highly desired issue.”

The owner of the coin is an anonymous collector and long-time ANACS submitter from California. He purchased the coin at a local police auction for $400, the amount he insured it for when he sent it to ANACS. It is estimated today to be worth at least $300,000.

As part of the authentication process, ANACS showed the coin to the top experts, including Ken Bressett, John Kraljevich, Julian Leidman, Anthony Terranova, Alan Weinberg and others.

As Michael Fahey, ANACS’ Senior Grader, said, “Holding and examining one of these rare pieces is an exciting numismatic adventure.” J. P. Martin, ANACS’ Senior Numismatist. added, “Michael and I were certain the coin was genuine as soon as we examined it. However, as with any coin of such value and rarity that we certify, we wanted the input of other experts. Every one of them agreed with us that the piece was genuine.”

Paul DeFelice, ANACS’ Vice President of Client Relations and Marketing, had the fun of calling the coin’s owner. “He was overjoyed. Who wouldn’t be? When I explained to him the process we took and the names of the experts we showed the coin to so we could be absolutely certain the piece was genuine, he could not help but be impressed and grateful.”

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