1877 50C Half Dollar, Judd-1539, Pollock-1708, R.8, PR65 Red NGC....
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Orange County Convention Center
Likely Only Two Known, PR65 Red
Design. A rare and unusual design on both obverse and reverse. The obverse shows a large head of Liberty with a wide band in front of a Liberty cap that has the word LIBERTY incused. The reverse shows a large eagle standing on a tablet inscribed with incuse E PLURIBUS UNUM. The eagle awkwardly supports a large shield, which distinguishes the reverse from Judd-1537 (silver) and Judd-1538 (also copper). Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Designed by William Barber, one of the large suite of half dollar patterns that were produced, likely for profit, before the final Morgan dollar design was adopted in 1878. Pattern expert Saul Teichman and we believe that there are only two pieces existing of the Judd-1539. For many years the Judd-1538, lacking the reverse shield on the eagle, was miscataloged as Judd-1539.
Teichman comments that the four Judd-1538 examples were listed as Judd-1539 for many years, including being overlooked in the Adams-Woodin reference. The Judd-1538 was first described in Thomas Elder's 5/1908 sale (lot 521, which went to Virgil Brand) before publication of the Adams-Woodin book (1913), even though Omaha collector Byron Reed had had a Judd-1538 piece since 1891. The first description of the Judd-1538 and 1539 as being different was by Wayte Raymond in Morgenthau's 4/1932 Shinkle sale. It appears that both Farouk examples were actually Judd-1538 but were listed in the Sotheby's sale under the Adams-Woodin number for Judd-1539.
Even in a collection full of rarities such as the Lemus Collection, this piece--not only from the famous suite of 1877 half dollars that form a popular pattern collecting specialty, but also in Gem Red condition, and one of only two that likely exist--is a standout opportunity for some forthright bidder. Do not let this marvelous potential acquisition slip away.
Physical Description. The present specimen has a needle-sharp strike and seemingly unabraded surfaces. Dusky orange-red and aqua colors are predominant, although the obverse has a few minuscule toning flecks. Some fadeaway toning at the letters on the reverse periphery confirms the remarkable originality of this stunning Gem Red example. NGC Census: one PR65 Red (this piece), one PR66 Brown. PCGS Population: none.
Census. Likely only two pieces exist.
1. Anderson Dupont, Part II (Stack's, 11/1954), lot 2480, which realized $100; U.S. Coins and Paper Money (Stack's, 9/1999), lot 1087, which realized $11,500; New Millennium (Heritage, 11/2003), lot 11212, which realized $32,200. The present specimen.
2. Dr. J. Hewitt Judd; Numismatic Enterprises (2/1966); Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 3/1980), lot 720; Great '80 Sale (Robert L. Hughes, 7/1980), lot 105; Tangible Assets; Teletrade (3/3/1993); Marin Numismatics; ANA (Heritage, 7/1994), lot 7946, which brought $11,825, PR65 Brown PCGS; bought in by Marin Numismatics; Southern Collection; Simpson Collection. PR66 Brown NGC.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (PCGS# 81880)
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