Overdate Cent

Question: How rare is the 1839/6 overdate cent? What are typical grades to expect? I have been looking for an Extremely Fine piece for some time without success.

Answer: We estimate that perhaps 200 to 400 are known. Most are in grades such as Very Good, Fine, and occasionally Very Fine. Extremely Fine (EF) coins are in the distinct minority, and we have not seen many graded finer than this. Probably VF is a realistic goal, and even in that grade, this will not be an easy piece to find. If you’re in the hunt for a big-ticket 1839/6 cent, a beautiful MS-65 BN example with traces of mint red will be offered in an upcoming part of the D. Brent Pogue Collection. And finally, if you are confronted with a well-worn 1839 cent you may suspect is an overdate, look to Liberty’s hair ribbons. On the “normal” 1839 cent, the ribbons are beaded, while on the overdate, the ribbons are plain. More than one well-worn specimen of this popular rarity has come to light in this manner.

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