1859 Transitional Half Dime, Judd-232, PR65
1859 PH10C Transitional, Judd-232, Pollock-279, Low R.7 PR65
PCGS. CAC. Ex: Eliasberg. A needle-sharp strike and virtually
pristine surfaces give this moderately mirrored Gem the exceptional
visual appeal indicative of a higher grade, while splashes of gold,
sea-green, violet, and royal-blue toning encompass each side. A
truly exceptional piece in every respect, housed in an old green
The Finest of Only Five at PCGS
Variety: Judd-232, Pollock-279, Low R.7. The so-called "Stateless" variety, with the 1859 "hollow stars" obverse by Anthony Paquet mated with the 1860 Cereal Wreath reverse by James B. Longacre, resulting in the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA not appearing on the coin.
Population Data (5/14): PCGS has certified five examples in all grades (three PR63, one PR64, and one PR65), with this piece being the sole finest. NGC has seen six representatives, one in each numeric grade from PR61 to PR66 inclusive.
Heritage Commentary: The 1859 variant of this so-called transitional pattern is significantly rarer than the 1860 issue and is also somewhat better-struck as a rule, as these were coined in proof format, rather than in the business strike format of their later counterparts. The exact number produced is uncertain, as no records were kept, though the popular estimate is just 20 pieces; with only 12 to 15 believed to survive in all grades, this number might be fairly close to accurate.
The purpose for the creation of these "nationless" coins is sometimes debated, as the absence of the name of the country makes it seem unlikely that they were struck as true trial patterns. Thus, Breen suggests Mint Director Snowden intended to use the curiosities as trading material to enhance the Mint Cabinet Collection, a feasible explanation upheld by many.
Transitional patterns or not, these rare, intriguing little coins are actively collected along with the rest of the regular-issue series and are thus listed in the Guide Book along with the regular production issues.
Consignor Commentary: I am not sure how appropriate this coin is to the set as it is both a pattern and a proof, but it is such a great rarity I wanted to include it. Blythe also includes it in his Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dimes, and rates it R.7, with possibly 12 to 15 known. The coin itself is a beauty; well-struck, with original surfaces. A tiny, mint-made strike-through is seen in the center of the field above the A in HALF.
Provenance: Thomas L. Elder; purchased by John H. Clapp (1907); Clapp Estate; purchased by Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 1009; ANA Auction (Bowers and Merena, 4/2005), lot 387. (NGC ID# 235U, PCGS# 4440)
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