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Obverse of 1856 Pattern One Cent in Copper - Judd 181     Reverse of 1856 Pattern One Cent in Copper - Judd 181


Rarity - Extremely Rare

19 millimeters

Metal content:


Edge: Plain

In 1856, the U.S. Mint began looking at cost-cutting alternatives to the bulky Large Cents that had been produced since 1793.  James B. Longacre used Christian Gobrecht's design of a flying eagle for the obverse and his own wreath type of the Three Dollar Gold piece for the reverse.  Many hundreds of Copper-Nickel pieces were produced to promote the new design, but only a handful were made in various other metals, one of which was pure copper.  The copper versions were struck on thick planchets.  Virtually all known examples are Proofs, but PCGS has certified at least one piece as a non-Proof.  PCGS has certified only 8 examples of Judd-181, the finest of which is a Proof-64 Red and Brown example.

For Judd 181, Breen calls for Obverse 2 (Open E's, very thin, shallow date, and an open 6) and Reverse C ["Low Leaves" (leaves below baseline of CENT), no center dot, and "Open E's" (of ONE and CENT)].  However, the coin illustrated above clearly has "High Leaves" (the left leaf is above the baseline of the C of CENT) and the E of ONE is closed while the E of CENT is wide open.  Is the coin illustrated above attributed incorrectly or is this a new die combination?

Images courtesy of Superior Stamp & Coin

Recent appearances:
The coin illustrated above was graded Proof-66 Brown by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation prior to its appearance as Lot 793 in Superior Stamp & Coin's "Pre-Long Beach" Sale, February 7-8, 2000. 

PCGS Proof-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Superior Galleries "Pre-Long Beach" Elite Coin Auction, May 25-27, 2003, Lot 3412, sold for $20,700.00

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

"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins 1722-1977" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report - January 2000" by the Professional Coin Grading Service