Garrett 'Jefferson Head' large cent offers a piece of history at New York auction

Fresh from the Long Beach sale at which an 1839-O half dollar and rare Mormon dollar starred, a Texas auctioneer is preparing for the next fascinating coin sale, that of a greatly coveted 1795 Jefferson Head.

One of the most unusual large cents, the 1795 Jefferson Head 'cent' is believed by some not to be a large cent at all, with some numismatic scholars believing that the dies were the work of John Harper as part of efforts to achieve a coinage contract.

(This John Harper is obviously not to be confused with either of the father-and-son John Harpers from whose collection the coin is now proffered. They are no relation to the historical Harper.)

Jefferson Head large cent
The coveted Jefferson Head large cent

Nevertheless, the Jefferson Head always catches the eye of large cent collectors, as the forward-swirling lowest curl is like no Mint product struck during that era.

The March 8-9 US Coin Signature Auction will be taking place in New York with the Garrett specimen being the one going under the hammer, and its provenance is almost as impressive as the coin, dating back through three generations of Garretts to the 19th century collector Dr. Edward Maris.

However, it nearly suffered a break in that pedigree when it was left in the back of a taxicab by collector Tom Morley, along with some of his other purchases from the Garrett auction.

The Jefferson Head cent is easily recognised as the Garrett example by the depression at the rim over the RT of LIBERTY. The NGC has certified it as VF25, and its online page has already received 500 before bidding even opens (later this week).

Collectors interested in the coins of this period may be interested in one from across the pond: a British William IV Proof Crown Coin which we have in stock.

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