Historic PR62 1839-O Half Dollar1839-O 50C PR62 NGC. Substantially rarer than the 1838-O proof half dollars are the similarly designed 1839-O proof halves. About a dozen of the former are known, but only about five of the latter are known. While the 1838-O is a celebrated rarity in American numismatics, the 1839-O proof is only recognized by a small number of specialists.
The 1838-O and 1839-O proof halves show a remarkable number of similarities. Both were apparently struck in proof format at about the same time in early 1839. Both have the popular Obverse Mintmark style only produced in those two years, making them a two-year subtype. There is no record of proof coins being struck of either year, in keeping with typical Mint practice of the era. Of course, an obvious difference is that, while the 1838-O halves were only struck in proof to the extent of about 20 pieces, with 11 pieces known today, the 1839-O halves are even rarer in proof format, with only four or five pieces known. Despite their greater rarity, the proof 1839-O halves are relatively unknown to the numismatic community, perhaps because of a fairly large production of 1839-O business strikes.
The present example is deeply toned steel-blue, intermingled with dark tan around the devices. The underlying fields are fully reflective, and all of the design elements are boldly defined. Struck in coin turn. A few scattered surface marks and faint hairlines are evident on each side, accounting for the assigned numerical grade, yet the eye appeal remains strong. An important opportunity for the discerning collector of branch mint proofs.
From The Joseph C. Thomas Collection. (PCGS# 6227)
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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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