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Lot
4681

1829 $5 Large Date PR64 PCGS Secure. CAC. Breen-6489, BD-1, R.7....

2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando #1166

 
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Auction Ended On: Jan 5, 2012
Item Activity: 14 Internet/mail/phone bidders
9,479 page views
Location: Orange County Convention Center
North/South Building
9899 Universal Blvd.
Hall SB - South Building
Orlando, FL 32819

Description:

1829 BD-1 Large Date Half Eagle, PR64
The Garrett Specimen
The Only Certified Proof of Its Type
1829 $5 Large Date PR64 PCGS Secure. CAC. Breen-6489, BD-1, R.7. Ex: Garrett. Although Mint records claim that 57,442 examples of the 1829 half eagle were struck, these coins, including the Large Date and Small Date varieties, have been known as important rarities since the 1860s. Some intricacies of the issue have only become known more recently, and some unresolved questions remain. The year was transitional, witnessing the last use of the open collar for the Large Date coins, and the debut of the close collar for the Small Date coins. The Close Collar produced coins of a uniform and slightly smaller diameter with a beaded border. The two variety descriptions, Large and Small Date, have been used since at least 1873. In the Seavey Descriptive Catalog, published that year, William Strobridge described an 1829 half eagle as the "Old Type," referring to a Large Date specimen. Today we are aware of seven Large Date coins in all grades, including proof, Mint State, and circulated pieces.

Early Auction Appearances
The earliest auction appearance that we have found for an 1829 half eagle was just 35 years after they were minted, in W. Elliot Woodward's May 1864 sale of the McCoy Collection. At the time, Woodward noted that the date was very rare with "not more than six known." The 1829 half eagles made several additional auction appearances throughout the remainder of the 19th century and into the 20th century, although specimens are difficult to track, as most were unplated. Many were called proof regardless of their actual appearance.
In the early and middle decades of the 20th century, roughly from the 1920s to the 1960s, coin dealers and auction houses called nearly any coin with a mirrored finish a proof. The problem was compounded by poor auction plates, or in some cases no plates at all. The publications of Walter Breen, including the Hewitt monograph series, Proof Encyclopedia, and Complete Encyclopedia, complicated matters as he promulgated the proof status of such coins, often without verifying their true status. Of course there were exceptions to the rule, and some individuals had a better understanding of strike status than others. One of the worst, calling virtually anything a proof or "semi-proof" was B. Max Mehl. A well known numismatic promoter, Mehl did a great deal to enhance coin collecting to the general public, but his actual numismatic knowledge was less than many of his contemporaries.
During the last four decades a great deal has been learned about early minting technology, and numismatists today have the advantage of knowing with near certainty the identity of proofs versus prooflike business strikes, while some catalogers took pains to provide conservative descriptions of the coins they offered. In that category are sales such as the Garrett and Eliasberg sales, among others.
Sorting out the roster of early proof gold coinage is a project requiring careful study. A number of today's best numismatic minds have worked on the study, including individuals such as John Dannreuther, Jeff Garrett, and Saul Teichman. The late Harry W. Bass, Jr., also had an excellent understanding of strike quality. Relying in part on the observations of those individuals, the cataloger will attempt to analyze all of the large diameter early gold issues from 1820 to 1829, commenting on pieces described as proof in past offerings, creating a roster of known specimens. In addition, a complete roster of all known 1829 half eagles of both diameters, large and small, will be attempted.

Early Proof Coin Criteria
The first step in an accurate roster of early proofs is understanding what such a coin should look like. Many years ago this cataloger developed the following criteria for identifying of early specimen and proof coins that were struck in the screw-press era (1792-1836). There are exceptions to the rules, and there will be other individuals who have different thoughts.
Specifically, the following rules wi (PCGS# 8149)

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