The 1804 Spiked Chin Half Cent is the Professional Grading Service’s (PCGS) Coin of the Week.
The realm of early American coppers is complex and dynamic, worthy of a lifetime of study thanks to a plethora of issues, varieties, and other curiosities. Surely the output of United States half cents from 1793 through 1857 lends plenty for collectors to explore. Dozens of regular-issue dates were produced during that time, and so many individual dates also boast at least a couple major varieties. The 1804 Draped Bust half cent offers several varieties, including the Spiked Chin, an amusing eccentricity that appears to show a sharp spike protruding from Miss Liberty’s chin.
The Spiked Chin variety was caused by a die break on the obverse die, and while it’s unknown how many 1804 half cents were produced with this idiosyncrasy, enough were made that it’s actively pursued by early American copper enthusiasts. This is not to suggest that the coin is common; it enjoys a pricing premium above other 1804 half cents and is considered highly scarce, especially in the better grades.
One nice circulated example was offered by Heritage Auctions over the course of the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Summer Show, which usually sees a headlining sale by the Dallas-based company in conjunction with this annual convention. This particular example of the 1804 Draped Bust Spiked Chin half cent was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as XF45 and realized a respectable $540.
*Images are courtesy of Heritage Auctions, www.HA.com. To subscribe to COINage magazine click here.