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Obverse of 1792 Pattern Cent - Copper     Reverse of 1792 Pattern Cent - Copper


Variety equivalents:
Judd 2, Pollock 2, Breen 1371

Mintage: unrecorded

Rarity: approximately 10 known

Designer: unknown, sometimes attributed to Henry Voigt
Engraver: unknown

Diameter: 23 mm

Metal Content: pure copper

Weight range: observed weights from 62.2-72.9 grains

Edge: Diagonal reeding

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Known examples (11 known):
The composition of many of the coins listed below has not been tested.  Thus, some may be "Fusible Alloy" (a mixture of copper and silver) instead of being pure copper

"EF-40" (illustrated below)
Lorin Parmelee, June 1890, Lot 6
- Virgil M. Brand
- B. Max Mehl, January 11, 1936
- B&M "Norweb" 11/1988:3393, "Second Finest Known, 62.2 grains, 22.4 mm, 360", $35,200.00

PCGS VF-30 (illustrated above)
- Oliver Wolcott, Jr?
- Wolcott family
- Goldbergs 02/2005:806, sold for $437,000.00

Very Fine
- Seavey, 1873
- E. Maris, 1886, Lot 146
- T.H. Garrett
- Bowers & Ruddy's "Garrett Collection" sale, March 1981:2348, "63.1 grains", $28,000.00

PCGS VG-10 (illustrated below)
- Lauder:234 (pedigreed incorrectly there)
- Dana Linett, sold for $15,000 in 1983
- David Henderson
- Bowers and Merena "Rare Coin Review, No. 53" 10/1984, page 16
- Goldbergs "Benson Part 1" 02/2001:151, $57,500.00

- Paramount "Century" 04/1965:50
- Bowers & Ruddy "Rare Coin Review, No. 19", 1974, p. 17
-  Bowers & Ruddy "Rare Coin Review, No. 20", 1974, p. 14
- Douglas Robins, Inc. (Coin World, December 4, 1974)
- Pine Tree 02/1975:59 (not Lot 69 as has been cited on occasion)
- American Numismatic Association
70.2 grains.  The authenticity of this piece has been questioned in the past but it is believed to be authentic by Tom DeLorey and Walter Breen.  Breen claimed that this piece was tested chemically and found to contain silver, but this was refuted in a later test done on behalf of the cataloguer of the Norweb collection.

- National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

- W.S. Appleton
- Massachusetts Historical Society (illustrated at Crosby Plate X - 12)

- American Numismatic Society

- Judd plate coin (not plated in the 7th edition)

- Adams-Woodin plate coin (illustrated below)

- L. R. Lohr (1961)
- Bowers & Ruddy "River Oaks" 11/1976:909
- Stack's 01/1987:476

1792 saw a flurry of activity aimed at establishing a Mint in America.  Congress passed a Mint Act, a Director was chosen, a lot was purchased, a building was erected, and employees were hired.  While the Mint Act gave directions as to which denominations were to be struck, apparently the Mint officials felt they had some discretion in choosing formats and designs.

For the One Cent piece, which was to be one of the main coins produced in 1793, four types were tested: a large copper piece (the "Birch" Cent), a smaller copper piece with a silver center (the Silver-Center Cent"), another of the same size (the Fusion Alloy Cent, in which the silver and copper were melted together), and another of the same size in pure copper.  Which type won?  Clearly the large, pure copper piece was favored, as this was the chosen format when production of Large Cents began in 1793.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"United States Pattern, Experimental and Trial Pieces" by J. Hewitt Judd, M.D.

"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"United States Patterns And Related Issues" by Andrew W. Pollock III

1792 Copper Cent - Norweb:3393

Images courtesy of Bowers and Merena

Adams-Woodin Plate Coin

Obverse of 1792 Pattern Cent - Copper     Reverse of 1792 Pattern Cent - Copper

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Images courtesy of Bowers and Merena