It’s every collector’s dream. Buy a large cent for $17.01 in an eBay auction and then discover several months later that it is very rare and valuable.
Alabama collector Tom Deck told members of Early American Coppers Jan. 7 that he is living that dream.
He purchased an 1825 large cent online that hasn’t been seen since an 1883 guide was compiled.
The 1825 large cent combines an Newcomb-4 obverse with a Newcomb-10 reverse. Howard R. Newcomb published a guide to the cents of 1816-1857 in 1944 and he had not even seen this coin. He called it unknown.
Large cent authority John Wright said he expected the coin to be called an N-5.
Bob Grellman, a copper specialist auctioneer, estimated the G-4 graded coin would be worth in the five figures if sold at auction ($10,000 and up).
It took quite a bit of study and consulting with experts before the definitive identification was made.
As he was looking at it, not believing what he was seeing, Deck said to himself, “I’m an idiot. What am I looking at here?”
Consulting with Wright and Grellman proved he is no idiot.
“When confirmed by John and Bob, I said OK, this is surreal,” Deck told EAC members.
What’s Deck going to do with it?
“Put it in my collection, at least for the time being,” was his reply.
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As a collector who began at the age of 7 and then tackled large cents starting in 1997, he said he has never owned anything like this before.
“I’ve been under pressure from people who say I should sell it. I’d rather keep it,” Deck said, knowing he was setting an example for his 11-year-old daughter Sarah Catherine, also a collector, who attended the meeting to share his moment in numismatic history.