Extremely Rare 1892-O Micro O Barber Half
1892-O 50C Micro O MS65 NGC. FS-501. This is an extremely
rare coin in all grades and the key to the Barber half dollar
series. While a few AU or better examples have been sold in the
last few years, this variety is infrequently available, and Mint
State coins are few and far between indeed. This piece is tied for
third place with two MS65 PCGS examples, including the Duckor
piece, in the Condition Census that we presented in the recent
auction of the Duckor Collection. The Duckor coin, an attractively
toned example, brought a strong $80,500 (Heritage, 8/2010, lot
MS65, Tied for Third Finest Known
Although the exact number minted of this variety is unknown, this rarity has been well publicized since Augustus G. Heaton recognized it in his pioneering work Mint Marks: A Treatise on the Coinage of the United States Branch Mints, which was published in 1893--right after this coin was struck. Heaton noted that the variety with the exceedingly small O was rare. Howard R. Newcomb further publicized this rarity in his 1914 display at the American Numismatic Society.
This Gem NGC-certified example is well struck, with bold obverse devices and with the usual trivial weakness on the reverse on the upper right shield and wing as well as on the eagle's right talons. The surfaces are slightly reflective and generally white, with peripheral gold toning. Ample luster is evident on both sides. The diagnostic die crack is seen through the lower numerals of the date to the rim below star 1, as always seen on this rare variety. Examination of the O mintmark shows that it is clearly wider on the right side than the left, and much smaller than the normal mintmark. Apparently the die engraver used the mintmark punch for the quarter instead of the half. Since the reverse die shows no sign of failure, it can be assumed that the tiny O mintmark was discovered early in production, and the die was discarded. The limited numbers coined entered circulation. Perhaps a few were saved as curiosities, as a small handful have been found in Mint State grades. The combined NGC and PCGS population reports show three coins graded this high, with three finer, one of which we believe is a duplication (10/10). The Eliasberg-Dale Friend coin, now certified MS68 PCGS, is the finest known, and the MS68 NGC coin is the same piece. One of the great rarities of American numismatics and always in demand.
The top five examples below include examples from MS68 to MS65. The next known pieces grade MS63 (one each at NGC and PCGS).
1. MS68 PCGS (formerly MS68 NGC). J. Colvin Randall (Lyman H. Low, 7/1903), lot 969; J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 2965; unidentified collector; Dale Friend; Heritage (1/2009), lot 3867.
2. MS67 PCGS. William C. Atwater (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 581; James A. Stack (Stack's, 3/1975), lot 572; Queller Family Collection (Stack's, 10/2002), lot 723; LaBelle Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 7/2005), lot 1186.
3. MS65 PCGS. Hollinbeck Coin Co. (5/1960); R.E. Cox, Jr. (Stack's, 4/1962), lot 2044; later, David Akers (2004); Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor; Heritage (8/2010), lot 3174.
4. MS65 PCGS. Superior (1/1989), lot 4524; Superior (10/1989), lot 3770, $20,900; Heritage (5/2008), lot 743, $92,000; Dr. and Mrs. Peter K. Shireman.
5. MS65 NGC. Dr. Thaine B. Price; Price Collection (David Akers, May 1998), lot 125, where it realized $55,000; John C. Hugon (Heritage, 1/2005), lot 4200, which garnered $69,000. The present specimen.
From The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 24LH, PCGS# 6463)
View all of [The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part Two ]
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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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