Finest PCGS-Certified 50/00 1836 Lettered Edge Proof Half, A Richly Toned Gem1836 50C 50/00 Lettered Edge PR65 PCGS. O-116, R.7 as a proof. According to Breen (1977) four varieties are known of the 1836 Lettered Edge half dollar in proof format. Two of these varieties are of special interest because they are mint blunders: this one with the overpunched denomination, and the 1836/1336 with its mispunched date. The proof strikings of the O-116 were apparently produced prior to the business strikes, this being one of the cases when both proofs and business strikes shared the same dies.
Perhaps it is diagnostic that the upper stars (5 through 9) are weakly struck on proof examples. That is the case on this coin, and it was also the case with the Eliasberg specimen. Another diagnostic seems to be weakness at the top of the denomination, a trait common to both this and the Eliasberg coin. While it is not mentioned in any of the literature, this weakness in corresponding areas on the obverse and reverse indicates that the dies were misaligned when these pieces were struck.
PCGS has certified seven proof Lettered Edge 1836 halves of all varieties, and this is the finest certified. While we make no claims for completeness, the coins known to us of the 50/00 variety are:
1. The present specimen. Provenance unknown.
2. Eliasberg. The discovery coin (1953), with a pedigree to the Earle Collection (1912).
3. Reed Hawn. Possibly ex: New Netherlands 45: 795; to R.J. Lathrop; sold privately to Elliot Landau; New Netherlands 52: 565.
4. Heritage 7/1997; later in Stack's 1/2002. PR63 NGC.
This is a splendid Gem proof striking of this important and highly collectible Bust half. The fields are deeply mirrored and each side is covered with rich cobalt-blue and gray toning. There are no mentionable contact marks on either side and the only striking weakness are in the two areas mentioned above: on the upper obverse stars and the lower reverse. A rare and important opportunity to acquire this highly collectible, blundered denomination in proof format. (NGC ID# 24GG, PCGS# 6221)
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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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