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Superlative Gem Red 1850 Braided Hair Cent to Highlight Next Week's January Americana Sale

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist and Cataloger and John Salyer, Numismatist and Cataloger.

Author: Frank Van Valen / Saturday, January 19, 2013 / Categories: United States Coin of the Week
One of the exciting items to be featured in our upcoming January 2013 Americana sale, an event overflowing with show-stoppers, is the superlative Gem Red 1850 Braided Hair cent, N-1, Noyes Die State E/A, which will be offered as lot number 13115 in our Rarities Night session.


This gorgeous example is choice for the grade, with excellent provenance, overall aesthetic appeal and high census rankings among the EAC experts. Bill Noyes, in fact, grades this piece MS-67 and ranks it CC#1 by four points (!) over the next finest example of the 1850 N-1 dies. In his cataloging for the "Ted" Naftzger Collection, Bob Grellman grades this coin MS-66 and also ranks it CC#1 for the variety!

In addition to being owned by the man who “wrote the book” on later large cents, Harold. R. Newcomb, this lovely and technically superior specimen is also pedigreed to the collections of Floyd T. Starr and “Ted” Naftzger. The complete pedigree is as follows:

Ex: Harold R. Newcomb; our (Stack's) sale of the Floyd T. Starr Collection, June 1984, lot 628; and Ira & Larry Goldberg's sale of the R.E. "Ted" Naftzger, Jr. Collection, Part III, September 2009, lot 969. Goldberg's lot tag and paper envelope with attribution and earlier pedigree notations included.

This extraordinary cent is a frosty and boldly lustrous mint orange Gem with exceptional cartwheel activity and eye appeal to match. The strike is crisp throughout with weakness seen at the center of just a few obverse stars. A few light flecks come to light under low magnification and are mentioned solely for accuracy, as they do not engage the unaided eye.

Many serious bidders will be at attention and eager to place a bid when this outstanding specimen crosses the auction block on Thursday evening, January 24th, at Le Parker Meridien, the Estrela Penthouse, in New York City. We hope to see you there!