Saturday, October 15, 2011

A 1798 S-143 large cent (off center)...

1798 S-143 obverse

1798 S-143 reverse
This is one of my personal favorites in my collection.   I love the off-center (maybe 8%?) strike of this 1798 "1st hair style" large cent, which is an S-143 variety with a rarity rating of R3, and the way the dentilations on the right side of the obverse and reverse are stretched out as a result.  I like how this off-center strike shows the crudeness of the minting process back in the 1790's. I also love the 2-tone coloration of this, which the camera has captured pretty well with the exception of the reflection from the PCGS holder. The lettering of the legends are also very strong. The drawbacks are the dig behind Liberty's eye, as well as a little blue-green verdigris in several places in the legend lettering on the reverse, but these are OK for the grade of VG08 that PCGS gave it.  

I wanted to be able to really tie this date (1798) in with some contemporary Northwest Ohio history, but was only able to find an account of judge named Jacob Burnet who traveled through the Maumee River valley and wrote his recollections.  Some of Burnet's quotes are chronicled nicely by Jim Mollenkopf's excellent book "The Great Black Swamp II":

"My yearly trips to Detroit from 1796 to 1802 made it necessary to pass through some of the Indian towns and convenient to visit many of them.  Of course I had frequent opportunities of seeing thousands of them in their villages and their hunting camps and of forming an acquaintance with some of their distinguished Chiefs.  I have eaten and slept in their towns and partaken of their hospitality..."  

Outside of NW Ohio in American history, in 1798 John Adams was president, the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by Congress, and the U.S. (and the fledgling U.S. Navy in particular) was engaged in the Quasi-War with France. 

The U.S.S. Constellation served with distinction in the Quasi-War



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