Professional Coin Grading Service, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc., will display for the first time the ?Red Copper Collection? of mint state and proof half cents and cents at the American Numismatic Association convention in Baltimore, Md., July 30-Aug 2.
Assembled over a period of more than 20 years by Stewart Blay of New York, the collection contains some of the finest known copper coins and has won awards from the PCGS Set Registry annually for each of the past six years.
Among the highlights are a 1796 half cent graded MS-66 RB, the finest known early American copper coin; an 1877 Indian Head cent graded MS-66 RD, nicknamed ?the Golden Princess?; and a 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent graded MS-67 RD.
?It?s the finest collection of high-grade copper coins ever assembled, and some of these coins have never been publicly exhibited before,? said BJ Searls, PCGS Set Registry manager. ?There were many excited comments posted on the PCGS Message Board when the word started to spread that this legendary collection would be shown for the first time.?
Blay is a sculptor who works in Colorado, Indiana and Italy. He began collecting at the age of eight.
?I had a neighbor whose uncle worked for the [New York] Transit Authority,? Blay said. ?He used to bring change home and we?d sort through it. I started with Lincoln pennies and began to fill up an old Whitman folder.?
Other items to appear in this display are the finest known 1828 half cent, 13 stars, MS-65 RD, the finest known; an 1856 Flying Eagle cent graded MS-65; and a 1914-D, MS-66 RD, formerly from the David Hall Collection.
?I?ve been a copper enthusiast from my early days of collecting, when Braided Hair half cents caught my eye because of their low mintages,? said Ron Guth, PCGS president. ?What Stewart has accomplished as a collector is simply incredible.
?Locating and preserving early American copper coins with any amount of original red color is a daunting challenge. Collecting Indian and Lincoln cents with full red color is just as difficult. Stewart?s tenacity and aggressive pursuit of the coins he loves has made him the ?King of the Hill? in U.S. copper coins.?