Draped Bust Cent Highlights and Rarities

1796 Draped Bust Large Cent, LIHERTY Error

  • The 1796 Draped Bust Large Cent represented the first year of issue for the type and saw a considerable mintage of 363,375 pieces. This would actually turn out to be among the lowest of the series, with several issues seeing total production in the millions.
  • A number of different dies were created for this year and several varieties exist. Perhaps the most sought after is the so-called “LIHERTY” error. While not an H in the technical sense of view, the B in LIBERTY appears that way due to a mistake by the person who punched the letters into the working die. Erroneously, he first entered the B inverted and later corrected it. On the coins produced from the die, the mistake is obvious, resulting in a sought after variety which gives us some insight into the production at the early Philadelphia Mint.
  • Examples of the 1796 LIHERTY Large Cent carry a premium at all grade levels, which expands in higher grades. Only a single piece is known in mint state grades, followed by a few pieces in AU. What is believed to be the third finest example graded PCGS AU58, but previously considered XF45, sold for $80,500 at an auction in February 2008. 

1799 Draped Bust Large Cent

  • The exact mintage for the 1799 Draped Bust Large Cent is unknown. It is generally assumed that it was included in the delivery reports for 1798, which indicated 1,841,745 pieces struck for circulation. The usual estimate for the number of pieces dated 1799 is approximately 30,000, which is represented by an estimated population of less than 1,000 survivors.
  • The year is represented by only two major varieties and three different die combinations. The varieties listed in the Red Book at “9 over 8″ and “normal date”, with the former variety being the scarcer and slightly more valuable.
  • High grade examples of the 1799 Large Cent are very rare, as most examples are well circulated and are porous, corroded or otherwise damaged. An example of the “9 over 8″ variety graded EF-45 sold for $368,000 at an auction in September 2009.

1801 Draped Bust Large Cent, 3 Errors

  • The fact that the lettering, among other design features, were punched into the die by hand has created several very interesting varieties for the Draped Bust Large Cent. One of the most famous of these is the so-called “3 error” variety of 1801.
  • All of the “errors” are found on the reverse of the coin, and include the fraction shown as 1/000, only one stem at the bottom of the wreath instead of two, and the word UNITED appearing as IINITED.
  • This interesting variety is very much in demand with collectors, but an example can still be acquired reasonably in lower grades. The premium expands for higher grade examples. Other errors are also known of the 1801 Draped Bust Cent, involving the incorrect expression of the fraction and an attempt to correct the fraction which results in the “1/100 over 1/000″ variety.


1804 Draped Bust Large Cent

  • With an estimated mintage of 96,500 pieces, the 1804 Draped Bust Large Cent is a rarity which received attention early on. Very much in demand, high grade examples are elusive with no more than two or three uncirculated pieces believed to exist.
  • Because of the low mintage, the rarity of the coin was quickly understood and circa 1860 an unofficial, private restrike was created using discarded Mint dies. The restrike actually used a rusted 1803 die previously used for production of that date, with the 4 re-engraved into the die. The reverse die was one used for regular production in 1820, created a very illogical combination.
  • Despite the unusual nature of the “restrike”, these pieces are listed in the Red Book, and while not as expensive as genuine 1804 large cents, these remain very collectible.


taken from: http://drapedbustcent.com/