(%bidBP% w/Buyer's Premium (BP) ).
Notice: You are the current high bidder on this lot, but the next highest bid is within one increment. That means that any additional bids on this lot will outbid you. To increase your chances of winning, enter your highest maximum bid.
(%bidBP% w/Buyer's Premium (BP) ).
You are the current high bidder on this lot.
(Sign-In to see your maximum bid)
Your secret maximum bid of %bidPretty% has been outbid.
Your secret maximum bid of %bidPretty% does not meet the reserve.
(Sign-In to see your maximum bid)
Your secret maximum bid does not meet the reserve.
(Sign-In to see your maximum bid)
1838-O 50C PR63 Branch Mint PCGS. CAC....
Bid InformationFor your convenience, the bid information on this page automatically refreshes with the most up to date data so you don't have to refresh/reload this page.
Minimum Next BidBid increments determine the lowest amount you may bid on a particular lot. Normally, bids must be at least one bidding increment over the Current Bid. However, podium, fax, phone and mail bidders submit bids at various times without knowing the current bid and must be on-increment or at a half increment (called a Cut Bid). Any podium, fax, phone, or mail bids that do not conform to a full or half increment will be rounded up or down to the nearest full or half increment.
Internet bids are required only to bid the increment past the Current Bid, or more. Internet bids greater than one increment over the Current Bid can be any whole dollar amount.
It is possible under several circumstances for winning bids to be between increments. It is also possible for an existing bid to be outbid by less than a full increment, sometimes by only $1. This usually happens when two bidders feel that a lot is worth about the same amount, but one places an off-increment bid. Generally when this happens, the Current Bid was much lower than the high secret maximum bid when the off-increment bidder placed his bid.
For example: On Tuesday, you bid $1500 against Bidder A's Maximum Bid of $1000, raising Current Bid to $1100. Then on Thursday, Bidder B, seeing a Current Bid of $1100, guesses the final price and decides to bid $1501, outbidding your Maximum Bid by $1. You would now have to bid $1600 through Heritage Internet bidding or $1550 on Heritage Live (if available for the auction) to possibly win that lot. Next time, maybe you'll bid $1502 and outbid Bidder B by $1!
Number of BiddersThis number represents the number of individual bidders prior to the close of Internet bidding on each lot. An individual who bids more than once is still counted only once. During the live session, only the winning bidder is included in this number, although detailed records are kept of all forms of bids.
Although many lots will not get reserves, this signifies that we have not yet posted any reserves to this entire auction. Reserves are usually posted approximately 3 days prior to the closing for Internet-only auctions, and approximately 7 days prior to the live session for Signature auctions. At that point, any unmet Reserve will become both the price shown (with an asterisk) and the Minimum Next Bid, regardless of any previous bids.
Although the consignor's agreement allows a reserve on this lot, the deadline for submitting such a reserve has elapsed. If consignor submits a reserve post-deadline and the item fails to meet that reserve, we may charge the consignor a higher reserve fee.
This lot is being sold without a consignor reserve. (Note: By law, consignors may still bid under certain conditions, but they are responsible for paying the full Buyer's Premium and Seller's Commission if they do.)
A reserve has been posted on this lot, but no bids have met the reserve. The current bid has been set to the reserve amount, and the next bid will meet the reserve.
Reserves have been posted for this auction, and there is a reserve on this lot that has already been met.
Lots bearing estimates and without Consignor Reserve shall open at Auctioneer's discretion (usually 25% to 60% of the low estimate).
What's This?Our Auction Results Archives now allow our members to make anonymous offers on items that may not be auctioned again for some time. Please note that the winner of this Heritage auction lot may or may not still own this item and may or may not be willing to sell.
What's This?The owner of this item has indicated that they would sell this item at the amount, although their acceptance of your offer is required before the item can be purchased.
Our Auction Results Archives now allow our members to make anonymous offers on items that may not be auctioned again for some time. Please note that the winner of this Heritage auction lot may or may not still own this item and may or may not be willing to sell.
BP - Buyer's Premium per LotA Buyer's Premium will be added to each successful bid. For this sale: 15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot. Please see #2 in our Terms & Conditions.
Not SoldThis indicates an item that did not sell at auction because it did not receive bids equal to or greater than the reserve (minimum bid) amount set by the consignor, or the opening bid.
Opening Bid:Lots bearing estimates and without Consignor Reserve shall open at Auctioneer's discretion (usually 25% to 60% of the low estimate).
Extended Payment Plan
Available on select items as noted on the item page in the bidding area.
- Minimum invoice total is $2,500.
- Subject to a refundable 3% set-up fee, which will be paid as part of your 1st monthly installment. This fee will be refundable upon completion of the plan if the following conditions are satisfied:
- There is no penalty for paying off early.
- Non-dealers only
- With pre-approved credit application
- Get pre-approved by filling out a credit application.
- Bid normally and win some lots.
- When you get your electronic invoice, select "other" from the payment options.
Note: This offer may not be available on some items.
Terms and Conditions
Extended Payment Plan for Heritage Owned Inventory Items(excludes Virtual Bourse, Comic Market and Virtual Sports Show)
- Minimum invoice total is $2,000.
- Minimum down payment is 20%.
- There is no penalty for paying off early.
- Non-dealers only
SMS Alerts- Receive a text message approximately 35 lots ahead of your item being up for bidding at auction, with a link to bid in Heritage Live in the text message. Haven't registered? Visit MyProfile to sign-up for free by entering your mobile number. The green icon indicates Live Bidding Text Alerts are on for that lot. Live Bidding Text Alerts are only available for lots in live sessions.
|Sold for:||Sign-in or Join (free & quick)|
|Auction Ended On:||Feb 14, 2008|
9 Internet/mail/phone bidders
11,685 page views
Long Beach Convention Center
Branch Mint PR63 CAC
The Atwater Specimen
First of all, how many were struck? The generally accepted mintage figure is 20 coins, based upon a handwritten note that accompanied the 1838-O half dollar sold as lot 583 in the June 1894 Friesner Collection by Edouard Frossard. As recorded in Breen (1988), the handwritten note was inscribed as follows: "The enclosed specimen coin of the U.S. branch mint at New Orleans is presented to Pres. Bache by Rufus Tyler the coiner. It may be proper to state that not more than 20 pieces were struck with the half dollar dies of 1838." Alexander D. Bache was the first president of Girard College in Philadelphia and, according to research by Karl Moulton, Tyler's prior chemistry professor at the University of Pennsylvania, thus providing a motive for the gift from Tyler. As a side note, Girard College was founded in 1833 but did not technically open until 1848. Nonetheless, Bache was president, in a limited capacity, of the college when he received the 1838-O half specimen. The current disposition of this particular specimen is unknown and not included in the pedigree roster below, suggesting that an additional example of this rare issue may be extant.
The 1838-O half sold as lot 655 in the June 1890 auction by New York Coin and Stamp Co., now identified as the Norweb coin, included the following note in that catalog: "We have seen a letter from Dr. Riddell, superintendent N.O. Mint, 1838, which accompanied a similar half dollar, in which it was stated that only four half dollars of this date and mintage were issued ..." There are two problems with the aforementioned letter: Dr. John Riddell was never the superintendent of the New Orleans Mint, but rather the melter and refiner, and the term of that position did not commence until 1839, so it is likely that the letter referenced in the 1890 sale was referring to specially prepared 1839-O half dollar coins. Since we have traced 11 1838-O halves, the notion that only four coins were struck is obviously incorrect, therefore it is easier to accept the suggested mintage of 20 pieces. One went to Bache and another to the Mint Cabinet Collection, but what was the destination of the other 18 examples?
Researchers generally agree that the remaining coins were distributed as gifts or souvenirs by mint officials. So are the 1838-O halves proof coins, business strikes, or die trial pieces? If the 1838-O halves were distributed as proofs, several pieces were not handled as such over time. The Boyd, Empire, and Anderson-Dupont specimens are all considered circulated or impaired proofs, grading in the PR40 to PR50 range. Even the Smithsonian example from the Mint cabinet is a cleaned coin. Proof half dollars from prior years exist in Gem or better condition so it is curious that the finest 1838-O half graded is a PR64. Breen (1988) claims that his research in the National Archives in 1951 yielded a reference stating that "a few" halves were struck "to test a press." This seems logical, considering that the New Orleans Mint was merely months old when the 1838-O halves were struck in the first quarter of 1839. It is well known that the first coins struck at the new branch mint were dimes and half dimes, and the smaller press used for those issues broke twice. The challenges with the implementation of a new, larger steam press to strike the half dollars must have been considerable. However, everyone agrees that the first O-mint halves certainly look like proof issues and there is no official record that 20 pieces were struck for circulation. The fact that most of the extant examples display mirrored fields could be explained by the fact that the newly installed dies had been freshly lapped and neither proofs nor die trial pieces would have been recorded in 1839.
Interestingly, the reverses of all known 1838-O halves display some degree of die deterioration. In fact, the faint breaks visible on most of the known 1838-O halves are similar, if not identical, to the die breaks observed on the 1839-O JR-1 halves. In addition, the number of dentils, 140, and their orientation to the reverse lettering match perfectly. Further study is essential before making a definitive claim, but it is likely that the two issues share the same reverse. It is possible that the dentils were part of the master dies used to create the working dies, thus explaining the identical positional match. A mystery yet to be resolved is why a proof coin would be struck from damaged dies. Were the dies broken during the production of the master dies, or were some coins, whereabouts unknown, struck before the 20 die trial pieces mentioned by Tyler? The argument regarding the status of branch mint proofs is tiresome and will likely continue into the unforeseeable future. Sentiments converge, however, on the fact that any 1838-O half dollar is an extraordinary coin to behold, both in terms of beauty and absolute rarity.
The current coin, the Atwater specimen, is not only special because of its rarity, but also because of its wonderful state of preservation. Some specialists believe that this coin is the finest known of the 11 traced examples, despite the grade assigned by PCGS. The fields are deeply mirrored and the strike is as strong as one would expect on a proof coin. Signs of cabinet friction are absent, and it is likely that the three obverse marks (right of star 5, left of star 9 and at the base of Liberty's throat) have limited the grade. Exclusive of the three marks, which shall forever serve as immediate pedigree markers, the Atwater specimen is awe-inspiring. This coin is perhaps best explained by the legendary B. Max Mehl in his June 1946 sale of the Atwater 1838-O half dollar, as quoted in the August 1973 Stack's sale of the Reed Hawn Collection, lot 122:
"Until last year I have not had a single specimen of this great rarity offered in any of my sales during all my numismatic experience of 45 years. In my sale of the Ryan Collection, June 1945, the first specimen I have ever offered at auction brought $1,875.00. It was a purple proof. The one offered here is a brilliant Gem proof, and in my opinion, and as far as I know, no finer specimen exists or could exist. According to my records, there are only seven specimens known. It is therefore considered, and rightly so, one of the very greatest of all United States silver coins - barring none - not even the 1804 dollar. It is a rarity which will add luster and much value and of course great pride of ownership to any collection of U.S. coins. It is a thrilling coin to look at and a still greater coin to own."
The "purple proof" that Mehl mentions in the above description is the Neil specimen which was most recently sold as part of the Queller Collection by Stack's in October 2002. It realized $184,000 in that sale. It is likely that the first U.S. half dollar coin to reach the million dollar mark will be an 1838-O half and, considering the current renaissance in classic U.S. numismatic rarities, it may happen sooner than later. The Baldenhofer specimen was sold at Heritage's June 2005 Long Beach sale for $632,500, and an impaired proof considered to grade PR40, the Boyd coin near the bottom of the condition census, realized a price of $220,000 at the October 2006 auction of the Byers Collection by Stack's. The specimen offered here provides a rare opportunity for the connoisseur to acquire a legendary coin that holds a permanent position on the landscape of classic American numismatic rarities and is perhaps unimprovable in terms of quality.
The following roster is a modification of the list included in our June 2005 sale of the Baldenhofer specimen. It is a continuation of the roster published in the 1997 catalog of the Eliasberg sale by Bowers and Merena, although we must note that the pedigree information provided here may be incomplete or include errors. With the aforementioned disclaimer being made, we are confident that the current roster is the most accurate and up-to-date list available. An in-depth study of 1838-O halves would be required to improve upon the list, and even then it would not likely be completely accurate. Errors found in previous catalogs have been propagated throughout the past century and some ownership information has simply been lost to time. The order of coins in the roster is an approximation of the Condition Census, not including the Smithsonian specimen, which would likely fall somewhere in the middle. Of course grading is subjective and specialists may have different opinions on the exact placements. It is also possible that the coins listed as "uncertified," such as the Cox and Neil specimens, may actually be encapsulated. As of the time of the current sale such information was not available. The combined data from the NGC Census Report and the PCGS Population Report of 1838-O halves indicates that five pieces have been graded at the PR64 level, with four achieving a PR63 designation and one certified as PR45. Based on the roster of known specimens, it is probable that the population data represents resubmissions of the same coin or coins.
Three of the coins in the roster are missing grades. To complete the list we should include the following:
Cox Specimen: Brilliant Proof.
Empire Specimen: PR40 Uncertified.
Guggenheimer Specimen: PR40 Uncertified.
1. Smithsonian Specimen. PR60 Cleaned. Superintendent, New Orleans Mint; Mint Director Robert M. Patterson; Mint Cabinet Collection, formed in June 1838; Smithsonian Institution.
2. Eliasberg Specimen. PR64 NGC. Stack's (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1911.
3. Norweb Specimen. PR64 NGC. J.N.T. Levick; W. Elliot Woodward; R. Coulton Davis; Lorin G. Parmelee (New York Coin and Stamp Co., 6/1890), lot 655; James B. Wilson (Thomas Elder, 10/1908), lot 346; Albert Fairchild Holden; Emery May Holden (Mrs. R. Henry Norweb); Norweb family (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3119; unknown intermediary; Andrew Lustig.
4. Atwater Specimen. PR63 BM PCGS. The present piece. Col. E.H.R. Green; William Cutler Atwater (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 555; unknown; Reed Hawn Collection (Stack's, 8/1973), lot 122; Auction '79 (Superior's session, 8/1979), lot 1569; James Bennett Pryor Collection (Bowers and Merena, 1/1996); Doug Noblet; Bowers and Merena (10/2000); Heritage to Madison Collection via private treaty (9/2005); Sid and Alicia Belzberg Collection.
5. Baldenhofer Specimen. PR64 BM PCGS. Col. E.H.R. Green; W.G. Baldenhofer (Stack's, 11/1955), lot 708; Robert Pelletreau (Stack's, 3/1959), lot 782; Jerome L. Cohen; Lester Merkin; Q. David Bowers; Charles Jay (Stack's, 10/1967), lot 181; Dr. E. Yale Clarke (Stack's, 10/1975), lot 253; Julian Leidman; Bryan Collection (NASCA, 11/1977), lot 708; Julian Leidman; Auction '82 (Paramount's session, 8/1982), lot 1689; unknown intermediary; Long Beach (Heritage, 6/2005), lot 6244.
6. Cox Specimen. Brilliant Proof. Col. E.H.R. Green; Burdette G. Johnson; Wayte Raymond; J.G. Macallister; Charles M. Williams (the likely owner); Numismatic Gallery; Adolphe Menjou Collection; R.E. Cox, Jr. (Stack's, 4/1962), lot 1873; Empire Coin Co. (Q. David Bowers and James E Ruddy); Hazen B. Hinman, Century Collection (Paramount, 4/1965), lot 1151; unknown intermediary; Bowers and Ruddy Galleries (Rare Coin Review #17); Ellis H. Robison (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 1605; Marvin Browder.
7. Neil Specimen. PR60 Uncertified. Waldo C. Newcomer; Henry Chapman; Col. E.H.R. Green; Maurice Ryan; B. Max Mehl (May 1945), lot 936; Will W. Neil (B. Max Mehl, 6/1947), lot 580; James Aloysius Stack (Stack's, 3/1975), lot 415; Julian Leidman; New York City Collection; 1982 ANA Sale (Steve Ivy, 8/1982), lot 2320; Anthony Terranova; Kevin Lipton; George W. Vogt (Colonial Coins); Auction '84 (RARCOA, 8/84), lot 1666; David Queller Collection (Stack's, 10/2002), lot 446. The enlarged reverse in the Queller Catalog is incorrect, and is actually the 1836 Reeded Edge half dollar.
8. Boyd Specimen. PR40 Uncertified. Col. E.H.R. Green; Wayte Raymond; F.C.C. Boyd; "World's Greatest Collection" (Numismatic Gallery, 4/1945), lot 410; 1971 ANA Sale (Stack's, 8/1971), lot 805; Dr. George J. Oviedo (Stack's, 9/1983), lot 830; George Byers Collection (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1097.
9. Anderson-Dupont Specimen. PR50 Uncertified. Col. E.H.R. Green; Anderson-Dupont sale (Stack's, 11/1954), lot 2104; Mr. Gottschalk; 1957 ANA Sale (Federal Coin Exchange, 8/1957), lot 1535A; "TAD" Collection (Stack's); Julian Leidman; Steve Ivy; Manfra, Tordella, and Brookes; 1983 ANA Sale (Kagin's, 8/1983), lot 2494; Mid-American (5/1985), lot 392; 1986 ANA Sale (Kagin's, 8/1986), lot 4657A; H.W Blevins (Superior, 6/1988), lot 3567; Bowers and Merena (3/1989), lot 2000; Vintage Auctions (8/1989), lot 202.
10. Empire Specimen. PR40 Uncertified. New Orleans private collection; Ferguson Haines; (S.H. & H. Chapman, 10/1888), lot 483; Col. E.H.R. Green; Charles A. Cass/Empire Collection (Stack's, 11/1957), lot 1344; "Empire Collection" (Stack's, 11/1957), lot 1344; New Netherlands Coin Company; Jerome L. Cohen; Kreisberg-Schulman (4/1967), lot 1065; Kreisberg Mail Bid Sale (6/1970), lot 1044.
11. Guggenheimer Specimen. PR40 Uncertified. Fred S. Guggenheimer (Stack's, 10/1953), lot 830.
The present coin has light, even, pleasing steel-gray and pale blue toning over fully reflective surfaces. The devices on each side are intricately detailed. The coin is suggestive of a PR64 or even better coin. (Without the marks, which actually look slightly worse in the photo than in person, it would easily grade PR64 or PR65.)
Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)
The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato is the culmination of more than 10 years of research into the Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar series, one of the most coveted type coins in American numismatics and one about which remarkably little has been written.
This work will be the premier reference for 1796-1797 half dollars for years to come. Institutions having an extensive numismatic library or coin cabinet will find it a valuable complement to their holdings, and catalogers charged with writing up specimens for auction can now have an indispensable source of background and pedigree information. Likewise, coin dealers seeking to purchase one or more '96 or '97 half dollars for a client or for inventory, and collectors who own, have owned, or desire to own one will want this important reference work for their libraries.
Order Now! Just $59.95