MS68 1814 Half Dollar, O-103
1814 50C MS68
NGC. O-103, R.1. This available die pairing is recognized on
the obverse by star 7, which has one point at the juncture of the
upper and lower curls on Liberty's forehead. Most examples,
including the present one, show die clashing in obverse fields.
Multiple vertical die lines run down to the rim from below the
forward portion of the bust. On the reverse, a heavy defect ridge
or die line runs from the scroll beneath the initial E, downward to
the center of the left (facing) wing.
Marvelous Preservation and Toning
The half dollars of 1814 were produced in relatively large number for the time, some 1.04 million pieces. Those coins were produced using only eight obverse and nine reverse dies, combining to make nine known die marriages for the year. The dies were obviously pushed to the limits, and several varieties of 1814 are well-known for die clashes, breaks, die erosion, and the other ailments that overstressed dies can produce. The Overton reference notes that "the year 1814 produced some of the most severely clashed dies of the entire [Bust half] series."
The O-103 and O-108a varieties of the 1814 are the only two rated as R.1 or common, although others rank R.2, and only the O-106 is rare. In the case of this coin, however, the sheer commonness of the O-103 variety allows for the pure chance of a marvelous coin such as this to exist.
The mint luster, thick and frosted, displays abundantly evident through the toning. The centers are silver-gray, with a light accent of rose surrounded by cobalt-blue at the extreme margins on each side. As is the case for many 1814 half dollars, this piece is quite sharply struck (although, as the Overton reference points out, that sharp strike came at the expense of sharp die clashing when there was no intervening planchet). As demanded at this incredible grade level, there are no visible abrasions or adjustment marks, save for the aforementioned die clashing in the fields.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 24F3, PCGS# 6105)
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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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