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Coronet Cents (1816-1839)

The Coronet Cents are the type of cent issued from 1816 to 1839 by the Philadelphia Mint. Its design, the Coronet Large Cent, was sometimes nicknamed Matron Head.

This was one of two similar designs that went through several variations. By 1839, the profile of Liberty herself was altered. For each of the year that the Coronet Cents were produced, at least one change is made on the design, introducing another variety in the series.

Coins produced in 1817 have the standard 13 stars and another with 15 stars. No one is exactly sure why the change was made.coronet head cent

In 1819, the “1819/8” variety had the “8” stamped on top of “9.”

In 1820, the number 2 on the coins appeared in several different styles. The standard small date had the “curled 2” that was mimicked when the date was enlarged. Later, the number 2 took on a normal design in the same large date.

Varieties of coins from 1823 to 1826 were a series of overdates—the “1823/2” variety featured the “2” stamped on top of “3,” 1824/2 showed the “2” stamped on top of “4,” and “1826/5” had the “5” stamped on top of “6.”

In 1828, there were coins with a large date, which is the standard, and those with small dates.

In 1829 and 1830, coins come with the standard large lettering and some with small lettering.

In 1834, Coronet Cents came in three distinct designs—a small 8 and large stars, large 8 and small stars, and both large 8 and stars.

In 1835, some coins featured a small 8 and small stars, some have both large 8 and stars, and others followed the 1836 types.

In 1837, the cord on the rim and the lettering appeared in several versions. Some coins have a plain cord and large lettering, plain cord and small lettering, and those with a “beaded” cord.

In 1839, as previously mentioned, Liberty’s profile appeared in different versions. Some Coronet Cents featured Liberty’s head as it appeared in 1838 coins, there were also the “Silly Head” and “Booby Head” varieties.

There was also a “1839/6” variety where the coin’s design showed the “6” stamped on top of “9.”

Over the 24 years of the Coronet or Matron Head design, 51,706,473 pieces were produced by the Philadelphia Mint. The 1817 coins that have 15 stars on the obverse are of particular interest, what with the mystery of the additional stars from the standard 13 still a subject of debate.

One popular theory is that Chief Engraver Robert Scot made a mistake when punching in the devices, resulting in several stars placed closely to each other. In an attempt to balance the design and save the die, two stars were added.

Despite its 24-year run, no dates in the series have outstanding rarities. But coins minted in 1823 are considered scarce in all grades and those that exist may be restrikes.

Proofs of Coronet Cents are also very rare. If some are produced, they were generally made for diplomatic presentation sets only.

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