Featured Interesting 1798 S-176 large cent with undertype

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Jack D. Young, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    OK, had the opportunity to add this one to my collection; description in the past Goldberg auction as follows (image courtesy PCGS):
    32783705_medium.jpg
    “1798 S-176 R4 Style II Hair, Small 8. PCGS graded VG-8. Struck over a Token. Glossy light to medium chocolate brown and steel. Smooth and attractive showing only a few trivial contact marks. A tiny pinprick over the 9 and a shallow pit in the field over the hair ribbon are good identifying marks. MDS, Breen state V late. Swelling is starting to weaken ES in STATES. What makes this cent so special is that it was struck over an as yet unidentified token, most likely one of the British "Conder" or merchant tokens of the late 18th Century. Clear undertype from the token is visible at RTY and in the opposing area at CA to the denominator. On the reverse you can make out two letters, H and E, and the numeral 8 shows under the second A in AMERICA. Perhaps an expert in the token series could attribute the token, but we are stumped. A really neat cent”.

    During additional research I found a note in one of Breen’s reference books about an example noted as being struck over an Anglesey “Druid” 1/2p- this was a clue for further investigation.

    I posted images in a Face Book Group I am a member that includes several experts on Conder Tokens and from the images they agreed it appeared to be struck over a 1788 Anglesey “Druid”, and that there was NO documentation to support Breen’s claim of having seen one. I agreed to bring my example to the Chicago ANA for further review. There both experts agreed again that that is exactly what my example is!

    One of the experts stated (this example) “is significant in that it proves at least one of these tokens traveled to the US and was used by the mint”; he is convinced on examination it was smoothed on the edge to reduce the diameter to be correct for a large cent planchet.

    I have been told there are other examples of large cents struck on similar tokens as planchets but none show a previously struck undertype.

    The coin as purchased was in a PCGS holder indicating the provenance (ex-Tom Reynolds who I saw at the ANA as well), the variety and that it was “Struck Over a Token”, the mystery to solve was which one!

    s-l500.jpg

    The following images are of a typical 1788 Druid hp and a close up comparison of the undertype on the 1798 reverse and the Druid; one can clearly see the “8” and “H” of the host token.
    druid-combo.jpg

    comps-rev.jpg

    Close ups of the large cent obverse appear to show vestiges of the wreath of the Druid as well:

    obv-ut.jpg

    Although we did not try to attribute the variety of 1788 host example we agreed we had enough image evidence to make the case for a further PCGS review there and received agreement to send it in.

    As a note, there is no observable edge lettering apparent on the large cent and experts tell me that is due to the Druid being trimmed to meet the diameter of a large cent planchet. On-line references report the Token’s diameter as 29.4 mm, while the reported standard for a struck 1798 large cent was 28.0 mm.

    After the review I received notice it was re-encapsulated and the label revised to show “Struck on Anglesey Token 1/2“.

    updated-cert.jpg

    May be the only documented one!

    Best, Jack.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  3. Johndoe2000$

    Johndoe2000$ Well-Known Member

    Excellent, informative thread. Great coin.
    Thanks for your time, and effort.
     
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  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Didn't those Conders have a lettered

    Aha. Never mind. Trimmed down. Makes sense.

    Cool coin.
     
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  5. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    That is a really fascinating story. Thanks!
     
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  6. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    That is a great piece! Congratulations!
     
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  7. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Excellent!
     
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  8. C-B-D

    C-B-D U.S. Type Coins or death!

    That's frickin cool.
     
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  9. gronnh20

    gronnh20 Well-Known Member

    @Jack D. Young did the use of tokens for striking early half cents take place as well?
     
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  10. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Chuck_A, Paul M., Oldhoopster and 2 others like this.
  11. buckeye73

    buckeye73 Active Member

    Curious... is there any documentation of past owners of this coin beyond Tom Reynolds?
     
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  12. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    There was none listed beyond "Acquired from an unrecorded source at a St. Louis Coin Show 5/1991".
     
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  13. Mainebill

    Mainebill Wild Bill

    Very cool to be able to attribute the token it’s struck on
     
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  14. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    It hasn't been attributed yet, we just know the series. There are at least 80 1788 Anglesey half penny varieties. there is a very good chance the exact variety it is struck over will never be determined. They are just too similar.
     
  15. Johndoe2000$

    Johndoe2000$ Well-Known Member

  16. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting coin, Jack. I've been following the discussion of this one.
     
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  17. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Cool to know it is an Anglesey half penny! As Conder writes the exact variety of HP is unknown.
     
  18. buckeye73

    buckeye73 Active Member

    +1
     
  19. Dave Waterstraat

    Dave Waterstraat dave700x -1883 O nut

    Very interesting read Jack. What made it even more interesting for me is I just picked up a 1788 Angelsey Token back in June.
     
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  20. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Are the images not showing up for you?
     
  21. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    This is exceedingly cool.
     
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