CoinWeek published an article by Heritage on their upcoming sale of an original Confederate cent. Here's an excerpt.
Generations of numismatists have repeated a canon of commonly held beliefs about original Confederate cents, one of which Heritage will be able to offer as a part of the 2014 January 8 – 12 FUN US Coin Signature Auction in Orlando. The maxim still holds true that once a numismatic fallacy is repeated it becomes fact; after it is repeated again it becomes an absolute fact. Very little is known as fact about original Confederate cents. What is known is either 12 or 16 pieces were struck in early 1861. Robert Lovett, Jr. was the engraver responsible. The first appearance at auction was in January 1874. Beyond that, just about everything is open to conjecture.
Much of the uncertainty about the original Confederate cents stems from an address made by John Haseltine at the 1908 ANA Convention. By 1908, Haseltine was “one who belongs to the old school of numismatics,” as Henry Chapman considered him. His address introduced several previously unmentioned “facts” about the discovery of the Confederate cents. These so-called facts were listed and debunked in Harold Levi and George Corell’s book The Lovett Cent, a Confederate Story.
The greatest concentration of truth about the original strikes of the Confederate cents seems to be clustered around the time of their discovery and the sale at auction of the discovery piece. In Haseltine’s January 1874 sale, he apparently knew some of the facts, but appears to have not known how many pieces were struck. It appears that Haseltine believed the mintage was limited to the coins he had seen. This fact was later clarified by Dr. Maris, who actually owned the coins.
In Dr. Maris’ catalog from 1886, he stated “I believe only about sixteen were ever struck.” This number is in line with the number of pieces known today (13), allowing for a loss of three coins over the period of 150+ years.
This original Confederate cent has been off the market since 1974. It was bought by the consignor’s father, Dr. Dudley Noble, in April 1974 for $14,995. Mr. Noble died at the all-too-early age of 48. His sons saw the significance of the coin and how it would fit into their collections of Civil War memorabilia that included guns, swords, ambrotypes, tintypes, buckles, buttons, and Confederate currency.
To read the complete article, see:
1861 Confederate States of America Cent
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