NGC Certifies Indian Head and Lincoln Cents with 'First Cent' Notations

Posted on 6/24/2022

The nine coins were accompanied by Philadelphia Mint documentation.

An amazing group of four Indian Head Cents and five Lincoln Cents dating from 1902 to 1923 have been certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®) with a “First Cent” notation on each coin’s label. These nine coins were submitted to NGC still in their cardstock holders signed by US Mint officers of the period attesting to the fact that the enclosed coins were the first examples of that denomination struck at the Philadelphia Mint for their respective dates.

In addition to grading and encapsulating the coins individually, NGC also certified and encapsulated the original holders in which the coins were held (because these old holders, which were custom-made and decorated, are collectible in their own right). Since the inscriptions were made over a period of more than 20 years, there are slight variations to the coin descriptions.

Also certified and encapsulated by NGC is a November 3, 1941 letter from the famed New York City coin dealer Wayte Raymond, Inc., which had sold these nine cents in two mail bid auctions held earlier that year.

Close-ups of the 1902 (top) and 1904 (bottom) auction envelopes and original holders.
Click images to enlarge.

Wayte Raymond’s April 29 sale that year featured five Indian Head Cents dated 1902, 1903, 1904, 1907 and 1909 with their original documentation. (The 1907 coin was presented by the NGC submitter to a friend as a gift 30 years ago and is not among those certified.) This sale was followed by one on October 28 that included the Philadelphia Mint Lincoln Cents of 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917 and 1923. These nine pieces are the ones now certified and encapsulated by NGC.

The Raymond letter is addressed to a Mr. T.C. Mueller of Washington, DC, who had purchased Lot 582 — the 1913 Cent. In it, D.M. (Dorothy Mosher) Faxon apologizes to Mr. Mueller that the company cannot locate that coin’s original envelope and offers to buy back that lot if he’s not satisfied with the purchase.

Among the Philadelphia Mint officers who attested with their signatures that these cents were the first pieces struck are John H. Landis, Coiner (actually, he was Superintendent); Rhine R. Freed, Coiner; and Robert Clark, Superintendent, Coining Department. One charming feature of Landis’ testament for the first 1902 Cent coined is that he specified it was struck at the “new US Mint Philada.” (This structure had just entered service the previous year.)

Also of interest is that the 1923(P) Cent was not struck until March 15. This is not too surprising, as the Philadelphia Mint had coined no cents at all during the previous year, and large numbers lingered after the huge mintages of 1916-20.

These amazing coins were submitted to NGC by Dwight H. Manley, one of the most prominent figures in numismatics for the past several decades. Manley acquired them from Martin Paul after they appeared in a Kurt Krueger auction in Milwaukee around 1986. “I am guessing the person who ran the Philadelphia Mint was given these over their tenure, as the coiners changed,” Manley stated. “But obviously, one person owned them, and in the 1940s, their estate gave them to Wayte Raymond for auction.” Dwight Manley has not revealed his plans for these very historic and desirable cents now that they’ve been certified by NGC.

"NGC was honored to certify these important cents from the Philadelphia Mint," said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman. "Such discoveries are extremely rare, and being chosen to preserve this historically significant group reaffirms the exceptional services that NGC provides."

The roster of pieces certified by NGC with a special notation (the exact phrase reflects the description on the original holder) includes the following:

1902 Cent graded NGC MS 65 BN with "First Cent Coined" Signed Document
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1903 Cent graded NGC MS 66 BN with "First Cent Coined" Signed Document
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1904 Cent graded NGC MS 64 BN with "First Cent Coined" Signed Document
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1909 Indian Cent graded NGC MS 64 BN with "First Cent Coined" Signed Document
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1913 Cent graded NGC MS 64 RB with "First Coin Made" Signed Document
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1914 Cent graded NGC MS 64 BN with "First Cent Coined" Signed Document
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1915 Cent graded NGC MS 63 BN with "First Cent" Signed Document
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1917 Cent graded NGC MS 64 RB with "First Cent Coined" Signed Document
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1923 Cent graded NGC MS 63 BN with "First Cent Coined" Signed Document
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