In a Bonhams auction in July 2013, a 1793 Wreath Cent sold for £93,600, then about US$153,000. NFC Coins of Florida bought the coin through an agent, though just took delivery of the coin recently.
U.S. cents were first minted in 1793. During that year, there were three design types of large cents: Chain Cents, Wreath Cents and Liberty Cap Cents. 1793 Wreath Cents are scarce and are needed by collectors of U.S. coins for type sets.
There was no information about the history of this specific Wreath Cent in the Bonhams catalogue. Denis Loring, a famous collector and leading expert in pedigrees of early large cents, was not aware of the coin before being contacted by CoinWeek. “That's one lovely Wreath Cent of the Sheldon-9 variety,” Loring exclaims, “it’s new to me.”
This 1793 Wreath brought multiples of its pre-sale estimate. “This large cent was tucked away in a sale of medals and notes,” says Matt Kleinsteuber, grader and trader for NFC coins. There were also many British coins in that auction, just a few U.S. coins, and an assortment of other items. The emphasis was upon European medals, orders and decorations.
“We are thrilled by this find,” Kleinsteuber says. “This is the second time this year that NFC paid a newsworthy price for a fresh early copper coin that was auctioned in England,” Matt continues.
On Jan. 22, the same agent for NFC was the top bidder when the firm of Wooley & Wallis auctioned a 1796 half cent for £185,000 ($293,540) in Salisbury, England. That half cent was later certified ‘MS-66 Brown’ by the NGC.
Later, Kleinsteuber quietly sold that 1796 half cent to a private buyer. NFC Coins has not yet announced plans for this 1793 Wreath Cent.