Finest Graded 1811 Half Dollar
1811 50C Small 8 MS68 NGC. CAC. O-105a, R.2. Early half
dollars were important instruments of commerce in the early 19th
century. With the cessation of silver dollar coinage in 1804, the
half dollar became the largest silver coin of the U.S. series.
Banks found it convenient to keep large numbers of half dollars in
their vaults to meet their reserve obligations. When silver dollar
coinage was resumed, the larger coins were more suitable for this
function, and most of the half dollars were eventually released
into circulation. Mint State coins are rare today, and collectors
prize any high grade specimen.
Small 8, O-105a, MS68
The coin offered here is a strong candidate for the finest known 1811 half dollar. In the 1990 edition of Early Half Dollar Die Varieties 1794-1836, the highest grade listed in any Condition Census for an 1811 half dollar of any variety was MS65. The current example grades a full three points higher. In more recent times, researcher Stephen Herrman has compiled Auction & Mail Bid Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars 1794-1839. According to Herrman's spring 2008 report, the present coin is still the undisputed champion, with the closest contenders grading MS66. This example was featured as lot 5571 in The Museum of Connecticut History Sale (Heritage, 6/1995). In that sale, the cataloger described the specimen as follows, "This is an exceptional piece that is virtually blemish free. The surfaces are highly lustrous with warm, glowing mint frost beneath the light gray patina that covers both sides. The peripheries deepen to an iridescent golden, blue, and rose coloration. Very sharply struck with almost complete details on each design element. Simply amazing quality and easily the finest known example of the variety." The present coin is the highest graded example at both NGC and PCGS.
Ex: Shepherd (Superior, 8/1991); Museum of Connecticut History (Heritage, 6/1995), lot 5571; Gainsborough II (Superior, 2/1997), lot 1820.
From The Scott Rudolph Collection.
See: Video Lot Description (NGC ID# 24EU, PCGS# 6097)
View all of [The Scott Rudolph 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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