Description and Analysis
1873 CLOSED 3 1C MS
Description & Analysis
The mintage of cents rose in 1873, as the redundancy of existing pieces was worked down through Treasury redemptions. Nevertheless, 1873 is still a somewhat scarce date, one that is divided into two very distinct, major varieties.
The first issue of coins in 1873 across all denominations featured date logotypes having a numeral 3 on which the two balls were close together and could be mistaken for an 8. Very early in that year Chief Coiner A. L. Snowden complained about this to the Engraving Department, and the result was a new set of logotypes having smaller balls set further apart. These are known as the Closed 3 and Open 3, respectively.
Neither variety is particularly rare for 1873 cents, but the Closed 3 coins definitely comprise a minority of that year's production. The exact number coined is unknown, Walter Breen placing it at 1,002,000, while Q. David Bowers estimated a quarter million, which is probably closer to the truth. All 1873 cents are challenging to locate in Mint State, and fully red pieces are quite rare.
The example illustrated above has the Closed 3 and is also the extremely scarce and desirable doubled-die obverse variety FS-101 (Snow-1).