1796 United States large cents are one of the most elusive years of the popular large cent series. Collectors are disappointed daily as the prices on auctioned examples soar above their means.
Fast becoming one coin of several, that prevent a complete year set from being assembled by most average collectors, if you are in possession of an example then you are leaps and bounds above most collectors.
United States large cents were minted from the year 1793 through the year 1857 and all years are represented, except for 1815 when a copper shortage along with plenty of coins in circulation made the decision to suspend the one cent coin for this year.
When discussing early date US coins, there is always a certain amount of rarity involved. Not all early dates are rare as some were struck in high numbers.
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jul 7, 2014)
With only a hundred and nine thousand minted, and many being worn beyond recognition as well as many being lost, it seems that most of the 1796 large cents that were struck are gone now and very few examples come up for sale.
PCGS estimates that fewer then 1000 examples exist. Take out the few hundred that are worn to slugs and there are only a few hundred coins available for hundreds of thousands of collectors to bid on.
As coins are purchased and socked away in cabinets and coin books the numbers fall even more and soon this coin will become non collectible at least for most of us.
There are several varieties of 1796 Liberty Cap large cents. William Sheldon, who has been known as the undisputed authority on these early coins, lists eleven different die combinations. Some are very rare and some are more common but any 1796 Liberty Cap is going to cost a bundle.
Examples of the year have been known to sell for over three hundred thousand dollars in MS65 which is based on a scale of 1 to 70. Even a common example in say a 6 or 8 grade will be several thousand dollars, depending on the die variety and the rarity of that particular combination.
A few things to consider when looking at this type of coin is grade of course and also whether or not the coin has been cleaned or subjected to any other type of environmental damage. Most of the coins from this era have had some unfortunate incident that can reduce their value significantly.
Make sure if you are thinking of purchasing any 1796 large cent that you look for certified examples that have been authenticated and if they are not encapsulated then this should be a priority to prevent any damage and also let you be sure of what your buying.
Consistent color throughout the coin and normal oxidation without signs of rubbing or scrubbing under magnification will usually mean that you have a decent coin.
Any signs of these will usually indicate that the coin has been doctored and subsequently ruined in the eyes of the top collectors. This means that not only the coin is diminished but so is the value so use caution.
Amazon Price: $16.95 $9.42 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 7, 2014)