ANACS Certifies Rare 1792 Silver Center Cent
oldest grading service, recently certified a
rare 1792 silver center cent. According to early
American specialists, only 14 of the pattern
pieces are known.
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
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
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
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.”