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Extremely Rare 1829 Proof Half Dollar, O-1071829 50C Small Letters PR66 NGC. O-107, R.4 for the variety, apparently unique as a proof. Ex: Pittman. In his catalog of the Pittman Collection, David Akers reported that this coin may be the only existing proof example of the O-107 die marriage. Perhaps only three other proof half dollars of this date are known, including the Norweb O-108 and O-112 half dollars, and an O-111 variety certified as PR63 by NGC. Recent auction records suggest a total population of four 1829 proof half dollars, each one a different variety! We believe that this Premium Gem is the finest of those that are known.
The problem facing numismatic researchers trying to establish a proof census of early issues, such as this, is the existence of deceptive prooflike examples and the willingness of earlier catalogers to describe such pieces as proof coins. Many past auction offerings describe coins as proofs when they are clearly just prooflike business strikes. In today's world of certified coins, the problems in proper attribution of proof coins have largely been eliminated, although there can still be differences of opinion. In some cases, it is only the price that a buyer is willing to pay that provides a clue. For example, the 1829 O-111 in the Eliasberg catalog was called a proof by Henry Chapman in 1912, yet was described as a prooflike business strike by Bowers in the 1997 sale of that collection. The coin, which was graded MS63 prooflike, realized nearly $30,000, suggesting that at least two prospective buyers both felt that it is a proof.
Both sides are fully detailed with completely mirrored fields and lustrous devices. These characteristics are subdued by lilac-gray and peripheral blue toning, the central design motifs highlighted by light gold color. Die lines at the bust tip are fully visible and a thin die crack connects the low curl to the border right of the final digit in the date.
Thomas Elder (10/1912); Hillyer Ryder (1945); Wayte Raymond; New Netherlands (50th Sale, 12/1957), lot 588; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1491; American Numismatic Rarities (1/2004), lot 1473. (NGC ID# 24GB, PCGS# 6208)
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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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