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Important O-107 1795 2 Leaves Half, MS631795 50C 2 Leaves MS63 NGC. O-107, R.5. The obverse is a later (though not terminal) state of the heavily used Die 1, while the other side is Reverse E in what must be a very early usage; while the 8x8 berry pattern with two long-stemmed berries inside under the right wing is diagnostic, the die crack that starts between OF and AMERICA (and later develops into the die break on O-107a) is nowhere to be found.
Stephen J. Herrman's spring 2009 revision of Auction and Mail Bid Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars shows only five entries for the O-107 (as opposed to the O-107a), of which the two finest are NGC MS63; the next highest grade listed is VF30. Herrman's list links the two entries through the Koshkarian pedigree, and this MS63 coin is easily plate-matched to its entries in the Koshkarian and Gladstone catalogs, as well as its appearance in Stack's October 1986 auction, by a shallow planchet flaw in the right obverse field. (Herrman describes the piece as Ex: Barker, but the coin's lot number falls after the end of Barker's collection.)
At each of its auction appearances, this coin has drawn effusive praise, and that praise is both justified and echoed here. The luster is gorgeous, and light golden toning has settled over parts of each side. Hints of pink and reddish-brown cling to the margins, and the piece is pale silver-gray elsewhere. The Koshkarian cataloger notes: "Around the rim there is some interesting evidence of silver 'push-up' from running the coin through the Castaing edge-lettering machine after [italics the cataloger's] it was struck, a feature not often seen but well worth noting." Similarly well worth noting is the variety's rarity and how this coin is a virtual lock for the top of the Condition Census, barring some dramatic new discovery.
Ex: Stack's, 10/1986, lot 318; Anthony Terranova, 5/1987; Haig A. Koshkarian Collection (ANR, 3/2004), lot 75; Gladstone Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/2005), lot 5543.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24E7, PCGS# 6052)
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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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