In the official auction of the Sept. 2010 Long Beach (CA) Expo, Heritage sold the highest graded 1811/0 overdate large cent. Though it is known to die variety specialists as Sheldon-286, it is an overdate that is actively and rightfully collected as if it was a separate and distinct date. The overdate is clear. In the die, the last numeral one was certainly punched over a zero. This issue is not just of interest to die variety specialists. It is certainly and logically collected by those assembling regular sets of large cents ‘by date’!
This 1811/0 cent in the Heritage auction is NGC graded MS-63 and has a sticker of approval from the CAC. There is also an 1811/0 cent that is NGC graded MS-62. Neither the PCGS nor the NGC have graded any other 1811/0 cents above MS-61.
Collectors take other factors into consideration in addition to the certified grade of a coin, and large cent collectors tend to be wary of the grading services. Personally, I find that the criteria employed by the PCGS and the NGC, respectively, are far more logical than the grading criteria employed by early copper specialists. These specialists maintain, for example, that a coin that has no wear and is indisputably uncirculated may grade EF-45 if it has many contact marks, even if all such contact marks came about at the U.S. Mint before the respective coin was released.
As I have not seen some of the highest ranked 1811/0 cents, and there may be high quality 1811/0 cents that are not in PCGS or NGC holders, I am not concluding that this is the finest known 1811/0 cent. It is certainly one of the finest known. As the highest graded of a scarce issue, it is very much newsworthy. Plus, it is the only 1811/0 cent that has had its PCGS or NGC grade approved by the CAC. How many others been submitted to the CAC?
This coin has appeared at auction several times. According to cataloguers at Heritage, it was in Heritage auctions in 1997 and in 2003. In 1997, it was NGC graded MS-62 and realized $12,362.50. Later, ANR auctioned it twice. In August 2004, it realized $23,575. In March 2005 in Baltimore, however, it sold for only $14,950.
In Sept. 2010, this NGC graded MS-63 1811/0 realized $41,400. The 1811/0 cent that is NGC graded MS-61 realized this exact same price at a Heritage auction in Jan. 2005. Unlike the Heritage auction event of Sept. 2010, the Heritage auction extravaganza of Jan. 2005 included a major collection of large cents and other famous early coppers. So, demand for large cents was probably more intense at the Jan. 2005 Heritage auction. There were not many noteworthy large cents in the Sept. 2010 Heritage auction.
I wonder if the just mentioned NGC graded MS-61 1811/0 may has more natural toning than the NGC graded MS-63 coin. If so, this may possibly explain why an NGC graded MS-61 1811/0 could be worth as much or more as an NGC graded MS-63 1811/0 cent.