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    1838 Liberty Head Large Cent

    There is an almost infinite number of collectible coins out there, but few are more popular or more sought after than the 1838 Liberty Head Large Cent. This coin, though produced a very long time ago, is still incredibly popular amongst collectors in the US and abroad. The thing is, however, that there are only a limited number of these coins available, so now is the best time to get your hands on one.

    On the obverse side of the 1838 Liberty Head Large Cent, you will notice that the central part of the face is dominated by the image of Lady Liberty. Within a band that is resting on her head, the word “Liberty” is inscribed, while the 1838 year of minting is inscribed towards the bottom. Around the central image you will notice 13 stars, each representing one of the original 13 colonies of the United States.

    On the coin’s reverse, the “One Cent” face value can be found in the center. Completely encircling this is an ornate wreath. On the outside of the wreath is one more inscription, this one reading “United States of America.” On both the obverse and reverse sides of the Liberty Head there are raised rays which give the coin some added texture.

    Grading the 1838 Liberty Head Large Cent

    In terms of collecting, just any 1838 Large Cent will not cut it for collectors. Because these pieces have been counterfeited so many times over the years, serious collectors will only settle for those pieces that have been graded and certified as being authentic. Understanding this, we have provided below an outline of the different coin grades as well as what those grades mean for the appearance of the Liberty Head.

    Uncirculated: A coin that is determined to be of Uncirculated grade is one that never spent any time on the open market exchanging hands. Having been protected from the day they were minted, Uncirculated Liberty Heads will appear today exactly as they did when they were first minted.

    Extremely Fine:
    If a Liberty Head is the recipient of an Extremely Fine grade, this means that the coin will be in pristine condition, save for a few minor flaws. Whether we are talking a few chips, or maybe even a scratch, the damage on these coins will be quite small.

    Fine: Fine is the grade given to coins that have definitely been circulated quite a bit, but were not overly damaged during their time in circulation. These pieces will play host to plenty of scratching and smoothing, but most, if not all, of the surface imagery will still be intact and visible.

    Good: A Good 1838 Liberty Head is a coin that has definitely seen its better days. This grade is reserved for those coins that have been extremely heavily circulated and damaged. On occasion, the damage is so severe that some of the surface imagery and lettering will have been completely worn away.

    Pricing the 1838 Liberty Head Large Cent

    In order to figure out just how much you might be asked to pay for an 1838 Liberty Head Large Cent, you do not need to look all that much further than the coin’s condition. As you might expect, those well-preserved coins are always going to cost more money than those that have been damaged. In addition, the total number of coins available also comes into play. As more coins are purchased and fewer remain on the market, the price of those few coins will increase over time. Below, you will find a chart aimed at giving you a better idea of what you might be asked to pay for a graded 1838 Liberty Head.

    Large Cents

    DATE GOOD FINE EXTREMELY FINE UNCIRCULATED
    1838 Liberty Head $20 $35 $120 $225
    Source: Red Book