Early American Copper enthusiasts have been saving up their, um, pennies, since they found out that we will be offering The Al Boka Copperheads Collection as a part of the 2011 September Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction, to be held September 8-11 as a part of the festivities at the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo.
Bordentown, New Jersey native Jon A. "Al" Boka got his numismatic start collecting Lincoln cents from circulation at the age of nine. It was also about that time that an uncle, who lived in a Trenton house just yards from the "Battle Monument" honoring George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, showed him a cigar box full of large cents he had found among the rafters in the cellar. While Al didn't realize it at the time, his uncle's action planted a seed that would bloom much later in life. Al bought his first large cent in Amsterdam in 1965, while he was serving with the U. S. Air Force in Europe. In 1973, the same year he joined Early American Coppers as member 406, Al started collecting in earnest with the purchase of an 1820 Newcomb-13 from a coin shop in Wilmington, Delaware; the piece is included in this auction.
In 2004 Al, along with a few other associates, organized an exhibit for the Early American Coppers [EAC] convention in San Diego, California. The exhibit included all 58 collectible varieties of large cents from the year 1794, with examples chosen for their impressive pedigrees. The exhibit proved popular and was repeated the following year at the EAC convention in Annapolis, Maryland. The exhibit also led to a book, Provenance Gallery of the Year 1794 United States Large Cents, and the www.1794largecents.com Web site.
Mr. Boka is known for two important sets of large cents: a high-grade date set and his personal set of all 58 collectible varieties of 1794. His cents were all assembled with an eye for provenance rather than grade, though grade was certainly an attraction when possible. Mr. Boka is keeping his 1794 cents, but his other large cents, including the famous Halpern 1793 Sheldon-13 and the Brand-Halpern 1799/8 Sheldon-188, are offered in this auction.
Just a few of the other highlights of this collection include:
- 1793 1C Chain AMERI. XF40 PCGS. S-1
- 1793 1C Wreath Cent, Lettered Edge AU55 PCGS. S-11c
- 1796 1C Liberty Cap AU53 PCGS. S-91
- 1796 1C Draped Bust, Reverse of 1796 AU55 PCGS. S-93
- 1798 1C Second Hair Style AU58 PCGS. S-186
- 1800/1798 1C Overdate, First Hair Style
- 1804 1C XF40 PCGS. S-266c
- 1805 1C MS61 Brown NGC. S-269
- 1807/6 1C Large 7 MS62 Brown PCGS. S-273
- 1840 1C Small Date over Large 18 MS65 Red and Brown PCGS. N-2