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Rare coin at Goldberg sale kept in jeans pocket

Coin collectors take great care with proper storage of their coins, but coins are not always so pampered.

A $15,000 rarity came to Los Angeles, Calif., dealer Larry Goldberg over the counter at what he called an old-time coin shop in the Southwest.

The rare coin had been kept in the seller's front jeans pocket.

The rare coin had been kept in the seller’s front jeans pocket.

It was actually pulled out of the seller’s front jeans pocket, loose with several other 18th century coins, Goldberg said.

The piece is a 1796 large cent, Sheldon-­89. It is new to the census and was recently graded XF-40 by Professional Coin Grading Service.

Large cent specialist Bob Grellman explained what makes this piece so valuable.

“The 1796 S-89 variety is a bit unusual in that, although it is a common variety of 1796 Liberty Cap cent, it is quite rare in high grade,” he said.

“The finest known grades only VF-30 by EAC standards, giving the variety the lowest condition census for the entire series. Even the rare varieties have examples that have survived in significantly higher grades,” Grellman said.

This lucky discovery will be a featured lot in Ira & Larry Goldberg’s Pre-­Long Beach Sale, which is slated for Jan. 25, 2015, in Los Angeles.

They describe the large cent as an attractive glossy light to medium chocolate brown with lighter brown toning in protected areas. There are a few small areas of slightly darker olive brown toning on both sides, including one that extends from the second “T” in “STATES” down to the left edge of the fraction. The surfaces are smooth and this cent offers excellent eye appeal. The only notable contact mark is a dull, shallow rim nick over the “T” in “UNITED.” It is a nicely struck mid-die state, Breen state II. There is minor crumbling at the lips and evidence of die clashing on both sides.

“ONE CENT” is complete and only minor weakness at “OF.”

Goldbergs said, “Our grade is VF-25. It is a very important early large cent for the collector of Sheldon die varieties. PCGS population 1; none finer at PCGS for the variety.”

For more information, telephone (310)­ 551-­2646, or fax (310) 551-­2626.

The address is Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., 11400 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 800, Los Angeles, CA 90064.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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