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Well-Preserved 1859 Half Dollar, PR65
French Liberty Head in Silver, Judd-239

1859 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-239, Pollock-295, R.5, PR65 NGC.
Referred to as Longacre's "French Liberty Head" design. A Romanesque bust of Liberty faces right, with a crown of intertwined oak and vine leaves. Around her neck is a scroll inscribed with the word LIBERTY. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA fills the peripheral fields with the date below. An ornate wreath of cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, corn, wheat, and oak leaves dominates the reverse, with 1/2 DOLLAR enclosed in two lines. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

Although the design is popular with collectors today, not everyone is a fan of Longacre's French Liberty Head design. Cornelius Vermeule criticizes in his Numismatic Art in America: "The obverse is a horror by any standards of taste in any age. The bust of Liberty is none other than that of the Greco-Roman Apollo Belvedere with a large wreath of oak and vine leaves, an awkward ribbon set at various irregular, jerky angles around the base of the neck being the surface for display of the word LIBERTY. The cereal wreath is florid, pleasing, and only pedantic if someone stops to tell the viewer what its elements contain."

Physical Description.
Intermingled russet and steel-gray toning plays over the well-preserved surfaces. The crisp strike confirms the Gem status of this eye-appealing proof pattern. NGC Census: 5 in PR65, 1 finer. PCGS Population: 4 in PR65, none finer (12/08).

Ex: Smith Sale (Stack's, 12/1987), lot 1015.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (NGC ID# 26VE, PCGS# 11972)

View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
January, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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