Legendary Rarity 1892-O Micro O Half MS631892-O 50C Micro O MS63 NGC. The 1892-O Micro O is the most famous rarity in the Barber half series. Untold numbers of collectors have gingerly turned over an 1892-dated Barber half, hoping to see any mintmark but especially a Micro O mintmark. Most Micro O halves are either heavily worn or Uncirculated, although collectors have searched for the variety since Augustus G. Heaton mentioned it in his landmark 1893 reference, Mint Marks.
This satiny example has peripheral golden obverse toning and a virtually brilliant reverse. When the coin is rotated just right, a few faint slide marks appear on the cheek, but the near-absence of bagmarks ensures the eye appeal is exceptional for the MS63 level.
Only a very few Mint State 1892-O Micro O half dollars have appeared at auction since third party certification began in 1986. The short list includes:
1. MS67 PCGS. William C. Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 581; James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 3/1975), lot 572; Queller Family Collection of U.S. Half Dollars (Stack's, 10/2002), lot 723; LaBelle Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 7/2005), lot 1186, which realized $97,750.
2. MS67 Uncertified. Lyman H. Low, 7/1903; J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 2065, which realized $59,400.
3. MS65 NGC. Long Beach Sale (Paramount, 1975), lot 870; Auction '86 (Paramount, 7/1986), lot 1659; Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 125; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2005), lot 4200, which realized $69,000.
4. MS65 NGC. Moreira Sale (Superior, 1/1989), lot 4524; Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, 10/1989), lot 3770; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2008), lot 743.
5. MS63 NGC. The present coin. The pedigree is unknown, but it may be one of the following pieces, whose auction photo catalogs are of insufficient quality to positively verify provenance: Empire Collection (Stack's, 11/1957), lot 1487; R.E. Cox, Jr. (Stack's, 4/1962), lot 2044; Reed Hawn Collection (Stack's, 8/1973), lot 320; Auction '81 (Superior, 7/1981), lot 755.
6. MS62 NGC. Robert W. Schwan Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/2000), lot 1339, which realized $10,350; Central States Signature (Heritage, 5/2007), lot 2138, unsold.
From the Fern E. Wagner Trust.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 24LH, PCGS# 6463)
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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.
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