Tom H. writes: My son has a Canadian 1 cent piece, 1859 Brass. Could you please give us a value on it. It is in very good condition. Also can you tell me how to determine whether it is copper or brass. Thanks.
The Large Cents of 1858 and 1859 were the first decimal issues of the Province of Canada. Dies were expensive to make and so some 1858 dies were reused to mint 1859 cents. There are several varieties of the 1859/8 cents in which collectors have an interest. For brevity, will can consider the 9/8 has one classification. There is also a normal “9” date and one with a normal “9” but minted in a brass alloy. The brass issues have a strong yellow color, the bronze issues are brown or chocolate colored when oxidized and red when in new condition.
Grade, that is condition, plays a strong part in the value of these various varieties. Below are value ranges in the grades that these coins are normally found. Lower grade, damaged or cleaned examples are worth less, superior examples are worth more.
The prices below are in Canadian dollars:
- 1859/8 Average circulated: $25 – $50 Uncirculated: $200+
- 1859 Bronze Average circulated: $2 -$5 Uncirculated: $25+
- 1859 Brass Average circulated $1,000-$2,000. Uncirculated: Rare!
Note that there are other varieties with double punched 9’s in the date. Collectors prize these varieties as well. If you think that you have one of the rare varieties, you can send your coin to the American Numismatic Association for authentication.