Splendid 1892 Micro O Half Dollar, MS65
1892-O 50C Micro O MS65 PCGS Secure. Ex: Duckor/Akers. Both
dies are perfect with no die cracks, clash marks, or other
imperfections. The obverse is bold with full details, except for a
few hair strands below TY. The reverse has the usual slight
weakness at the junction of the shield and right wing, causing the
indistinct wing feathers of this piece. Slight weakness is also
evident on the claw and arrow feathers. The reverse of this Gem is
sharply machine doubled, with the peripheral letters, including the
mintmark, all noticeably doubled.
The Third Finest Known
From the 1962 R.E. Cox, Jr. Sale
The Duckor specimen is earlier from the R.E. Cox, Jr. Collection that Stack's sold in April 1962. The Cox Collection was one of the great half dollar collections sold during the 1960s. In the Foreword to that part of the sale, the cataloger commented: "This collection is what may be termed a 'complete collection.' It is very seldom that one has the honor and pleasure of selling a 'complete collection.' " The only major issue that was not included in the Cox sale was the 1817/4 half dollar. The sale did include both the 1838-O and the 1853-O No Arrows pieces. Stack's described the 1892-O Micro O as "a superb Brilliant Uncirculated specimen with full mint bloom." Several markers clearly visible in the 1962 Cox catalog appear on the present piece. The immediately obvious pedigree characteristic is a nearly vertical toning line in the field at the nose. The reverse has a dark pedigree marker at the dentils below the left side of the O in DOLLAR.
Locating the Duckor specimen in the Cox sale allows us to update the Census listing that appeared in our offering of the Dale Friend specimen in January 2009. Our current roster includes five coins that grade MS65 or finer. The cataloger would like to hear from any readers who know the current whereabouts of the Empire coin (Stack's, 11/1957) or the Reed Hawn coin (Stack's, 8/1973), listed as C and D in the following Census:
1. MS68 PCGS J. Colvin Randall (Lyman H. Low, July 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. The present specimen.
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 Long Beach Sale (Paramount, 1975), lot 870; Auction '86 (Paramount, 7/1986), lot 1659; Dr. Thaine B. Price (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 125, $55,000; John C. Hugon (Heritage, 1/2005), lot 4200, $69,000.
6. MS63 PCGS Auction '81 (Superior, 7/1981), lot 755; George "Buddy" Byers (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1312.
7. MS63 NGC Heritage (6/2008), lot 1056, $34,500.
8. MS62 NGC Bowers and Merena (10/2000), lot 1339; George "Buddy" Byers (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1313; Heritage (5/2007), lot 2138.
9. AU55 PCGS David Lawrence (7/2004), lot 3136; Bowers and Merena (8/2009), lot 1457; Stack's (1/2010), lot 3237.
10. AU55 ANACS Joe Flynn, Jr. (11/1971); James Bennett Pryor (Bowers and Merena, 1/1996), lot 253.
The following four examples may be included among those 10 listed above:
A. MS63 PCGS George J. Szatkowski PCGS Registry Collection.
B. MS63 PCGS Michael F. Hayes PCGS Registry Collection.
C. MS Stack's (11/1957), lot 1487.
D. MS Stack's (8/1973), lot 320.
Augustus Heaton is credited with discovery of the 1892 Micro O half dollar in 1893. In Mint Marks, Heaton wrote: "After a long interval 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." Heaton's discovery of this variety the year following its mintage is impressive, and his recognition that it is a rare variety is miraculous. The existence of so many Mint State pieces in relation to the overall population may be a direct consequence of Heaton's early discovery of the variety.
Some years after Heaton's discovery, Howard Newcomb displayed his example at the 1914 American Numismatic Society coin exhibition. The coin was listed in the published catalog for that event but was unplated. We are unaware of any further appearances of the 1892 Micro O half until an example appeared in a Stack's sale in the early 1940s. In the 1957 Empire catalog, the cataloger wrote: "A specimen which we sold about 15 years ago realized $350.00." We have been unsuccessful finding that citation.
In our catalog of the Friend specimen, we noted our agreement with others that the O mintmark was from a punch intended for quarter dollars. However, the mintmark has a distinctive shape. It is small and round, with the right side much wider or heavier than the left side. Examination of numerous O mintmarks from contemporary quarters and coins of other denominations, has failed to find a match. This area requires further study. Compilation of a catalog of mintmarks would add considerably to the story of this variety and to numismatics. Population (6/10): MS65 (2); MS65+ (0); MS66 (0); MS66+ (0); MS67 (1); MS67+ (0); MS68 (1).
Ex: Hollinbeck Coin Co. (5/1960); R.E. Cox, Jr. (Stack's, 4/1962), lot 2044; later, David Akers (2004).
From The Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Barber Half Dollar Collection.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 24LH, PCGS# 6463)
View all of [The Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Barber Half Dollar Collection ]
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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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