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1814 Classic Head Large Cent

38 posts in this topic

1814obverse.jpg1814reverse.jpg

 

These photos certainly don't do the coin justice. If one has ever tried to find a type with a quality planchet w/o porosity or corrosion then you will appreciate my quest. This coin is such an outstanding example of this vary scarce series. The planchet is near flawless, very well centered and with excellent details. Of course it is dark but that comes with the territory. It seems that just prior to the outbreak of the War of 1812, England sold us copper that was of very poor quality with lots of impurities. As a result, it is extremely difficult to find a coin with a quality planchet from this era. This copper supplied ran out in 1814, hence no cents were produced in 1815. This was the only year in the history of the mint that a US cent was not produced. However, the variety which followed was the Matron Head Large cent which began in 1816. Fortunately, due the the Randall Hoard being found just post Civil War, there are many mint state examples available with a much better quality planchet.

 

This new purchase is courtesy of Mark Hooten. Thank you very much, kind sir!! Mark is a senior numismatist that knows his coins. After a greater than two year search, Mark came through for me at a very reasonable price. Actually, I am thankful for the hit on the cheek of the coin. If not for this then this coin would have been priced 5-10 times the price that I paid.

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Classic Head Large Cents from 1808-1814

#893749 - Fri Aug 05 2005 11:54 AM Edit Reply Quote Quick Reply

 

 

 

In response to Victor's excellent questions, I decided to make another post. Bear in mind that my experience in these matters is growing but limited at this time. Consequently, I hope that anyone else with experience with large cents will chime in.

 

Perhaps you can educate me a bit concerning Classic Head Large Cents from 1808-1814:

 

1) Is there such a thing as a circulated example w/o pitting & porosity?

 

Yes, but for any of the early (1793-1807) and middle date cents (1808-1835), pitting and porosity of one degree or another is fairly normal. This can span a range from not-distracting to distracting for eye appeal. This is probably the key - If eye appeal is intact, then minor pitting/porosity can be a no-nevermind.

 

Circulated examples in the lower grades (particularly below VF) tend to have more of this than higher grades. You will likely find, however, a good share of slabbed pieces that reflect grades of VF25 and better that have minimal (not-distracting) pitting/porosity. Coins that market grade AU and better typically have very minimal amounts.

 

2) Are they always very darkly toned as from recovered buried coins?

 

Not all are darkly toned, and those that have been cared for very tenderly over the years will be chocolate brown. I have seen many darkly toned pieces in early cents, and it just comes with the territory with coins that circulated. Bear in mind that copper is quite reactive and the admixture of metals in the alloys of the times bore a strong influence on the ultimate tone of such pieces.

 

Look for luster in darkly toned (and other) pieces. Luster is key for telling you about wear and surface problems.

 

3) Did you see any decent example at the show with any eye-appeal at all?

 

At the show, I concentrated on cents of 1793-1804. There are so many varieties in those years, it's enough to make your head spin. But I did see a few 1808-14 cents in high grades (EAC 35-55) that were very appealing. Did I pick them up and look closely? No - those are pretty pricey coins, and I'm trying to work on draped bust and earlier pieces before I turn my attention to classic heads.

 

4) Have you ever seen a nice example besides the mint state mega-bucks examples?

 

Yes. There are some nice circulated pieces out there that grade EAC 15-40 that will not kill you on price. If they ar choice or average+, they will garner a premium over an average piece. You will have to plan on forking out 1-2 grand. If that kills you, then you'll have to figure out ways to minimize the damage.

 

5) In order to satisfy my type collection, what is the best that I could hope for for a $2,000 or less purchase?

 

A choice or A+ coin... EAC 15-20 (slabbed = ca. VF35-

AU50).

 

6) What are the odds of getting a nice coin in the VF-AU range?

 

Your odds are not bad, but you'll have to go to a good dealer or luck out in an auction.

 

7) Which dealer/individual would you recommend to me to make the acquisiton?

 

There are several good dealers, but I'm familiar with three that will give you the straight skinny on a coin. That said, I'd caution you about approaching them with the notion of slabbing the coin, as they may not serve you well. Nearly all of their coins are raw and EAC graded. You need to ask for an average+ or choice coin in a particular price range that has no net grade. (A choice coin, by definition, is this way, but an average+ coin may be net downgraded by one grade level.)

 

I've done business with Doug Bird, and he's a great person, very knowledgeable and will go a long way to help. I've spoken at length with Tom Reynolds who is also a very easy person to get along with, very knowledgeable and helpful. I've also spoken only briefly with Chris Victor-McCawly and Bob Grellman, but they are both upstanding dealers in the copper community. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as I'm quite sure there are others to be endorsed and I hope that other folks will chime in on this one.

 

8) And, I assume that these are all overgraded, too, as mentioned in your post?

 

The people I just mentioned grade strictly by EAC standards. They will not overgrade their coins.

 

What you find is that dealers that are not specialized with copper, and have it as part of a general inventory, are likely to market grade the coins, ignoring problems and, to some extent, eye appeal. Their grades do not account for problems the same way that a strict EAC grader will account for them, and they will not judge eye appeal the same way. A market grade on a raw copper tells you nothing of potential pitfalls of the coin, whereas an EAC grade should reflect this.

 

If you are after only a single coin for type, then buy "choice" and graded EAC. If, however, you are satisfied with a coin you find that's already slabbed, then it may be a safe bet also.

 

Hope this helps, Victor, and thanks for the questions.

 

Hoot

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Classic Head Cents 1808-1814

Mention the word "classic" and people think of works that are beautiful and enduring-Greek and Roman statues, Shakespearean sonnets, even luxury cars from a bygone era. The so-called "Classic Head" large cent produced by the United States Mint in the early 1800s is old enough to be thought of in that context, but it's not exactly "classic" in terms of beauty. On the contrary, its portraiture is plain-some might even say homely. And yet, while it may be misnamed, it is viewed with great affection by many collectors.

 

The large, copper cents issued by the Mint during the nation's formative years underwent frequent changes in design. Four major changes occurred before cent coinage was even five years old, and lesser variations took place with regularity within these basic types. A semblance of stability seemed to have been established when the Draped Bust design introduced in 1796 not only lasted through the turn of the new century but actually completed 10 full years of production. But in 1806, a new director, Robert Patterson, took command at the Mint, and that signaled yet another shake-up for the coinage-including the cent.

 

The U. S. coins being issued at that time all bore designs by the Mint's chief engraver, Robert Scot: The silver and minor coins carried Draped Bust portraits of Miss Liberty, while Capped Bust likenesses appeared on the gold coins. Mint Director Patterson clearly wasn't impressed, for in 1807 he commissioned new designs for each and every one of these coins.

 

The handwriting was on the wall for Scot (and in the mail) when Patterson wrote to President Thomas Jefferson in March of 1807 suggesting that Scot's "advancing age" (he was then 62) made his "good health" doubtful. On that basis, he sought authorization to hire John Reich, a talented young engraver, to serve as Scot's assistant and redesign the coinage, arguing that "the beauty of our coins would be greatly improved by the assistance of his masterly hand." Jefferson acceded, and on April 1 of that year, Patterson promoted Reich, then an unsung die-sinker at the Mint, to the post of second engraver.

 

Reich has gained a wide following among collectors in the nearly two centuries since then. An organization of numismatists enamored of coins of the era bears his name. But his monetary reward was minimal at the time: He earned only $600 a year-not much more than the wages being paid to common laborers. Then again, the ill-used artist had little leverage: Escaping the Napoleonic Wars, he had come to the United States from his native Germany as an indentured servant.

 

Reich's assignment from Patterson was all-inclusive: He revamped every coin from the half cent through the half eagle, the lowest and highest denominations then being produced. His obverse design for the cent (and half cent) was a left-facing portrait of Liberty with curly hair, tied with a headband inscribed LIBERTY. Miss Liberty is surrounded by 13 stars, seven to the left and six to the right, with the date below her. The coin's reverse carries the statement of value, ONE CENT, within a continuous wreath. This, in turn, is encircled by the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

 

Reich's depiction of Liberty has often been referred to as the "Turban Head" portrait, a name it was given by 19th-century coin dealer Edouard Frossard. Either Frossard or collectors interpreting his remarks are confused: Liberty wears no hat of any type on the copper coins, sporting only a headband. Perhaps Frossard was referring to the cap or turban appearing on the gold and silver coins. The late Walter Breen, a renowned numismatic scholar, tartly observed, Frossard "probably had never seen a real turban." The term "Classic Head" is credited to Ebenezer Locke Mason Jr., who proposed it in his hobby periodical, Mason's Coin and Stamp Collector's Magazine, in 1868. The "classical" connection is the fillet, or narrow headband, a device which dates back to ancient Greece. But the parallelism is flawed, for only young male athletes wore fillets in ancient times: They were prizes awarded to winners of local sporting competitions.

 

Production of the new design began in 1808, with just over one million pieces struck. A cent shortage developed the following year, however, when the Mint ran out of planchets. Official records state that 222,867 cents were made in 1809, but research has uncovered that nearly 50,000 cents minted in June of 1809 may have been struck with leftover 1808 dies. Production returned to normal in 1810; in fact, that year's output of 1,458,500 was the highpoint for the series. But a roller-coaster ride began in 1811 when mintage fell to 218,025, the series' low point, rising sharply in 1812, then dropping again appreciably in 1813. After a final low-mintage year in 1814, the abbreviated series came to an end.

 

Short of planchets again in 1815, the Mint made no cents with that date-the only year missing from U.S. cent coinage from 1793 to the present. In 1816, when production resumed, the cent bore Robert Scot's new and undistinguished "Matron Head" design.

 

Combined total mintage for the series' seven dates is just 4,757,722-all from the Philadelphia Mint. There are no great rarities in the series, but no "common dates" either. The scarcest date is 1809, usually seen darkly colored and porous, a condition familiar to much of the series. Classic Head cents are widely collected by date; dedicated hobbyists often include the overdates and other varieties in their sets, as well. Type collectors pursue the more commonly found 1814 coins, with their generally sharper strikes and occasional touches of mint red. The Mint made no proofs, but some partially mint-red and prooflike examples of 1810 are known, discovered in a tiny hoard in the 1930s. Points to check for wear include the hair above Liberty's eye and the leaves next to the O in ONE and the T in CENT.

 

Classic Head cents are relatively scarce in every collectable grade, but exceptionally so in mint condition. This is partly due to the unusual softness of the inferior quality planchets received from the British firm of Boulton and Watt, but also due to supply and demand: The large number of collectors pursuing the early coppers has always limited the number of choice pieces available for sale. Unfortunately, there have been no hoards discovered of any consequence. The numismatic fraternity is limited to the small number of high-grade specimens that very infrequently return to the fold from one of their own.

 

Collectors with more than a casual interest in this series would be well advised to delve into the large wealth of information available on these and other early large cents, most notably Penny Whimsy, the updated version of Dr. William H. Sheldon's definitive work on the large coppers, Early American Cents. Sheldon's variety and Condition Census numbering system is the standard among large cent aficionados, many of who claim membership in the Early American Coppers Club (EAC).

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

 

Diameter: 29 millimeters Weight: 10.89 grams Composition: Copper Edge: Plain

 

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1814 LARGE CENT

 

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: 357,830

Proofs: None

 

Designer: John Reich

 

Diameter: 28-29 millimeters

 

Metal content:

Copper - 100%

 

Weight: 168 grains (10.89 grams)

 

Edge: Plain

 

Mintmark: None (all 1814 Large Cents were struck at the Philadelphia Mint)

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Victor - Thanks for the kind words but most of all, thanks for the great story. coinresource.com is a great place to go for interesting information.

 

Here's a photo of the coin, a bit larger. Still dark, as this coin is quite tough to image. But imagine dark chocolate brown surfaces that are glassy smooth with some nice remaining Mint luster and you'll have a sense of what this coin looks like. The hit on Liberty's cheek is old and toned identically to the rest of the coin; therefore, it's really not distracting at all. A fine piece... thumbsup2.gif

 

This is the Sheldon 294 variety, Plain 4.

 

1031287-1814Pln4S-294XF40netVF30det05-307.JPG

 

Hoot

1031287-1814Pln4S-294XF40netVF30det05-307.JPG.da7f4400cc9241fe4c30ee64531d3aba.JPG

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That looks like a nice one, Victor, with plenty of remaining meat and surprisingly little porosity evident. Even when many of these coins were newly struck they had surface problems, and most folks don't realize how bad the surfaces looked, compared to our standards today, when they were fresh.

 

The hit on the cheek looks more like something Jack the Ripper would produce, but it also looks as though it might not be a mortal wound. Overall, the hit does not bother me at all as it appears to be contemporary with the coin's circulation.

 

The color is also superb. These coins should be, in my opinion, largely pine-tar black as they saw extensive circulation and then had to survive 200 or so years in the environment.

 

I like the coin, and not just a little, I like it a lot. thumbsup2.gif

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i agree with tomb

 

the coin is overall above average and the long ago contemporary graze on the cheek has also worn with the coin so an early graze and it is a non entity to me not bothersome at all the coin is for eac members superb as it has a combination average+ surfaces for a classic head large cent so really scarce as such and most importantly the coin is well balanced which you never see in classic head large cents

 

this coin rates a 9.75 out of ten flowerred.gif

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this large cent is amazing for what it is

 

add another 25 dollars to what you paid for it and also 10 dollars for shipping and send this coin to me i will get you the money immediately for a good 893applaud-thumb.gif fair profit cloud9.gif for you thumbsup2.gif

 

not bad if you keep doingt this twice a week you can go out to eat at subway every day for free 893whatthe.gifhail.gifangel.gif

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Good looking coin Victor! 893applaud-thumb.gif

 

I’d be very happy to that coin part of my collection. cloud9.gif

 

That is a very hard series to find nice looking, well detailed examples; you did great on this one. I’ve noticed you have been acquiring some nice type coins lately, 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

keep em comin! thumbsup2.gifthumbsup2.gifthumbsup2.gif

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It's not THAT hard. Why, it only took me a mere 30 years to find this one.

 

obv

rev

 

Had to see it RAW at a non coin related gathering. Tried for another year to buy it. He wanted to have it graded first. It's an NGC 55.

 

That was the ONLY coin w/a problem that I had in my first type set.

 

They are TOUGH!!!

 

Christo_pull_hair.gif

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What you did not learn from the thread (because it was omitted) is the little known fact that the main source of entertainment in the young United States Mint from 1808-14 was the noontime "Penny Fight" similar to today's "food fight." Yes, in those days all mint employees gathered at the penny press at noon and closing time and threw new pennies at each other. They were then batted back with a paddle full of nails and then before going home, everyone put the pennies in a pot of caustic soda to pit them.

 

The following day, the coins were poured out of the pot and driven over with oxen. This explains the difficulty in obtaining Classic Head cents without damage of some sort.

 

tonofbricks.gif

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It's not THAT hard. Why, it only took me a mere 30 years to find this one.

 

obv

rev

 

Had to see it RAW at a non coin related gathering. Tried for another year to buy it. He wanted to have it graded first. It's an NGC 55.

 

That was the ONLY coin w/a problem that I had in my first type set.

 

They are TOUGH!!!

 

Christo_pull_hair.gif

 

Compared to yours, mine is the butt-ugly sister to Cinderella but, then again, I'm not royalty and she suits me fine. Your's is worthy to be a queen in a palace but mine lady will turn the heads in America's finest trailer parks. wink.gif

 

You example is gorgeous and is worth big bucks. Mine is lovely (much lovelier in hand) and has a very smooth, glassy surface with a very reasonable price.

 

I'll trade you yours for mine PLUS a Speared Bison Nickel. Eh? insane.gif

 

Thanks for sharing your images.

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Good looking coin Victor! 893applaud-thumb.gif

 

I’d be very happy to that coin part of my collection. cloud9.gif

 

That is a very hard series to find nice looking, well detailed examples; you did great on this one. I’ve noticed you have been acquiring some nice type coins lately, 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

keep em comin! thumbsup2.gifthumbsup2.gifthumbsup2.gif

 

Thanks, Paul.

 

Actually, 2005 has been a good year to me for type coin acquisitions.

 

(Sorry no photos. One day....)

 

1)1865 PR65 RB two cent piece -- one of the best two cent pieces that anyone could ever find.

 

2)1889 PR66 3CN Gorgeous, even glacier ice blue toning. Rare like this.

 

3)1860 PR64 3CS Very nice with beautiful toning.

 

4)1898 PR66 RB IHC Gorgeous toning that matches the 2c.

 

5)1880 PR66 Cameo Shield Nickel. Original and white.

 

6)1892 PR65 Barber Half. Cameo obverse, original with even blue toning on the reverse.

 

7)1892 PR64 Cameo Barber Quarter. Original.

 

8)1905 PR64 Barber dime. Original, lime green toning.

 

9)1814 VF20 Classic Head Lg Cent. Smooth planchet, XF details.

 

plus quite a few SCD's and medals.

 

So, obviously, I'm selective on what coins that I select and this Lg Cent fits nicely.

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Victor: You are really into Proofs now.

 

Actually, I can't remember all that I bought in 2005, except the exceptional pieces. These include:

 

1854-P, 1/2 Cent, MS65BN, brown with Blue and violet highlights.

 

1864-P, 2 Cent, MS65RB, much red and blue highlights.

 

1910-P, Cent, MS65RD, nice RD cent.

 

1883-P, No Cents Nickel, MS66, looks like cameo proof.

 

1910-P, Nickel, MS65, nice pastel toning.

 

1860-P, Dime, MS65, nice white, Type I Obverse coin.

 

1910, 2-Barber Dimes, MS63&64, plus 2-Barber Quarters, MS63, from the Richmond III sale (all Branch Mint coins).

 

1877-S, Quarter Eagle, AU58, nice for grade, looks MS.

 

1879-S, Quarter Eagle, AU55, nice for grade, looks MS.

 

1908-P, Half Eagle, MS64, nice example.

 

1910-P, Half Eagle, MS63, looks MS64.

 

1910-S, Half Eagle, AU58, nice for grade.

 

1916-S, Saint, MS65, nice coin without any major marks.

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Dang, Charlie, you've been busy! Very nice coins!!!

 

This sounds like a sweet coin that I still need:

 

1883-P, No Cents Nickel, MS66, looks like cameo proof.

 

(p.s. no hint intended)

 

 

thumbsup2.gifthumbsup2.gif

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Actually, 2005 has been a good year to me for type coin acquisitions.

 

(Sorry no photos. One day....)

 

1)1865 PR65 RB two cent piece -- one of the best two cent pieces that anyone could ever find.

 

2)1889 PR66 3CN Gorgeous, even glacier ice blue toning. Rare like this.

 

3)1860 PR64 3CS Very nice with beautiful toning.

 

4)1898 PR66 RB IHC Gorgeous toning that matches the 2c.

 

5)1880 PR66 Cameo Shield Nickel. Original and white.

 

6)1892 PR65 Barber Half. Cameo obverse, original with even blue toning on the reverse.

 

7)1892 PR64 Cameo Barber Quarter. Original.

 

8)1905 PR64 Barber dime. Original, lime green toning.

 

9)1814 VF20 Classic Head Lg Cent. Smooth planchet, XF details.

 

plus quite a few SCD's and medals.

 

Good year? Looks like a great year to me. 893applaud-thumb.gif

 

Fantastic list of pre-1915 proofs you’ve picked up there Victor, in solid problem free grades; these coins, even though they have been slowly going up for the last few years now, are so under valued still, and actually quite rare, especially in those minty PF65 & 66 grades, I feel much rarer than what prices they are selling at would lead you to believe. Your set seems to be coming along nicely and is sounding very cool; you can never have too many proof examples in a type set. thumbsup2.gif

 

I think proofs really make great examples for a type set, having the fullest struck designs with those mirror and satin surfaces rarely found on business strikes, they can’t be beat.

Like today, these proofs strikes were the coins that the mint made for collectors; I often wonder who could have been the person that went to the mint to buy the 19th century proof s that I now have, and how many different collections each was part of in the 100+ years between the first owner and me. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

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Good year? Looks like a great year to me. 893applaud-thumb.gif

 

Fantastic list of pre-1915 proofs you’ve picked up there Victor, in solid problem free grades; these coins, even though they have been slowly going up for the last few years now, are so under valued still, and actually quite rare, especially in those minty PF65 & 66 grades, I feel much rarer than what prices they are selling at would lead you to believe. Your set seems to be coming along nicely and is sounding very cool; you can never have too many proof examples in a type set. thumbsup2.gif

 

I think proofs really make great examples for a type set, having the fullest struck designs with those mirror and satin surfaces rarely found on business strikes, they can’t be beat.

Like today, these proofs strikes were the coins that the mint made for collectors; I often wonder who could have been the person that went to the mint to buy the 19th century proof s that I now have, and how many different collections each was part of in the 100+ years between the first owner and me. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

Paul, you sound alot like michael! hail.gif A man who knows his coins!

 

I just checked out your type set. Man, I'm envious! You have a nice set going on. Once again, I find that I'm breaking the 10th commandment and am envying my brother's set. crazy.gif

 

Believe it or not, I still don't have an 1859 IHC or '09 VDB. Yours are sooo nice.

 

Your Seated Liberty types have great eye-appeal and are very nice additions. The Barber dime has beautiful color and your Trade $ is so very sweet. Yep, if I had what you had then I'd be darned near done with my set. But hey, I live for the pursuit!!

 

I liked the way you concentrated on the 1883 and 1942 proof sets. So cool.

 

My first 18th century proof was the 1885 PR64 cameo SL quarter. I considered doing a year proof set but TDN wouldn't let his 1885 Trade dollar go at a price that I could afford. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif So, I scrapped that idea. crazy.gif

 

Thanks for the comments and for sharing your type set!! I really enjoyed it.

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Super nice coin. I have been looking for a nice one for a couple of years now. Good pickup, these sure aren't getting any cheaper mad.gif

 

You're right. I consider myself fortunate to have acquired it. Give Hoot a PM and he may be able to steer you in the right direction if you're interested. He is a man of knowledge and of high integrity so he wouldn't steer you wrong.

 

Have you notice how Coin World Trends have shown a doubling or tripling in price over the past 6 months to a year?

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I just checked out your type set. Man, I'm envious! You have a nice set going on. Once again, I find that I'm breaking the 10th commandment and am envying my brother's set.

 

Thanks Victor, glad you like em! thumbsup2.gif

 

It’s not envy, it’s just appreciation, and we all enjoy each others coins so it’s all good. yay.gifyay.gifyay.gif

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i appreciated the pre-15 lg cents prior to this thread but after reading this i do at least twice as i did before... great thread.

 

on a side note... let me take the opportunity to rag on dansco for a second..... none of the holes in your album fit the coins? they're all loose.. WWWTFFF

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on a side note... let me take the opportunity to rag on dansco for a second..... none of the holes in your album fit the coins? they're all loose.. WWWTFFF

 

Actually, just a couple of large cents are loose. The rest fit pretty snugly. I still haven't added my Barber quarter or the Classic Head yet, though. I still need to retrieve my album.

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