1796 Draped Bust Cent, LIHERTY

The 1796 Draped Bust cent featuring the “LIHERTY” error is one of the scarcest and most recognizable issues of the Draped Bust cent series.

The error was initiated when a Mint die-sinker punched upside down into the obverse die the letter “B” of “LIBERTY.” Upon realizing the blunder, he re-punched the “B” in the correct orientation, but this resulted in a letter resembling more of an “H” rather than a “B.”(1)

Although most price guides do not mention this, there are actually two known die varieties (sometimes called die marriages). Die variety S-103 matches the LIHERTY obverse with the reverse die of 1794. S-104, considered the scarcest of the two, matches the same LIHERTY obverse with a 1797 reverse die.(2)

The 1796 Draped Bust LIHERTY cent has been subjected to pressure from generations of eager collectors, although values are currently below their circa 2010 highs.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 201
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 6.9
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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1. PCGS.  1796 1C LIHERTY, BN (Regular Strike).

2. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1796 Draped Bust Cent. S-103. LIHERTY Error.  Aug 2020 Auction.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.