Celebrated 1892-O Micro O Barber Half, MS63
1892-O 50C Micro O MS63 PCGS Secure. The 1892-O is one of
the most interesting and curious early mintmark varieties in U.S.
coinage, and it has been a celebrated rarity for a long, long time.
We prepared a video lot description for the Dr. and Mrs. Steven L.
Duckor MS65 PCGS coin that we offered in our ANA Signature
(Heritage, 8/2010), lot 3174, which brought a strong $80,500 (see
that lot for an extensive Condition Census of known examples).
Long-Recognized Rare Variety
In that description, we pointed out that Augustus Heaton wrote his seminal pamphlet titled Treatise on Mint Marks in 1893, and even at that time, he was aware of the existence and the rarity of the 1892-O Micro O, a variety that had been made only the previous year in a remote branch mint 1,100 miles away from Heaton's Washington, D.C., home.: "It is remarkable that he knew of its existence. Even in today's information world, varieties are seldom discovered within a year of their production."
Heaton's Mint Marks pamphlet devotes what, for him, is an extended description of the 1892-O Micro O. Heaton organizes his text by denomination, then by mintmark, so that the issue follows immediately after the 1861-O Seated half under the section titled "The O Mint Coinage of Half Dollars":
"After a long interval [since 1861] the Half Dollar was struck in 1892 with the new bust and heraldic eagle dies. The date is small, and a small o is directly under the middle of the eagle's tail and over the D. There is one rare variety of this piece with an exceedingly small o, hardly larger than a period."
Clearly the 1892-O Micro O is a variety that amply deserves its long celebrity, as the provenance we published in the Duckor catalog indicates that only about 10 unquestioned Mint State specimens survive. And as we also commented in the Duckor description, the few high-grade examples that survive likely owe their existence to Heaton's early recognition of the variety.
This piece is sharply detailed in most areas, with strongly impressed stars and portrait. A touch of the usual softness appears on the right (facing) shield corner and the wing nearby, and on the right claw. Green, golden-brown, and ice-blue toning intermingle. The obverse is more frosty, with prooflike reflectivity appearing on the reverse. For the Select Mint State grade, this piece has excellent eye appeal.
Ex: Harry Laibstain; Dr. Peter K. Shireman; Michael F. Hayes - Elbesaar Collection PCGS Registry Set.
From The Elbesaar Collection.(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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