1839 H10C No Drapery PR65 Cameo NGC....
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Tied for Finest of Only Five Proofs Known
Our roster is consistent with estimates of previous researchers. In The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dimes, Al Blythe suggests that four to five 1839 proof half dimes are known.. Walter Breen, in his 1989 Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins, lists four 1839 proof half dimes. NGC has certified a PR65 Cameo, which is the Kaufman coin, a PR65, and two PR64s. In the Bowers and Merena August 1999 sale of the Pittman specimen, the cataloger estimated that "perhaps just a dozen or fewer Proofs [were] made of the date, and with about half that number currently known."
The following roster of five confirmed proof 1839 half dimes is based on our review of auction appearances:
1. PR65 Cameo NGC. The Kaufman coin appears different from any of the following specimens. It may be the April 1964 Stack's piece, lot 1011, although the quality of the plate precludes a definite match. Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part III (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2373. The present coin.
2. PR65 Cameo PCGS. Rarities Night (Stack's Bowers, 11/2012), lot 3068.
3. PR65 NGC. Adolphe Menjou Sale (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 108; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 457; Long Beach Connoisseur Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 84; Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1081.
4. PR64 NGC. Paul S. Mory, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 6/2000), lot 423; Ira and Larry Goldberg (5/2001), lot 472. The Bowers and Merena cataloger states that this specimen resided for over a century in a collection formed by an attorney in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the late 1800s.
5. Brilliant Proof. Major Lenox R. Lohr Collection (Stack's, 10/1956), lot 254; Stack's (1/1991), lot 40; Stack's (10/2002), lot 1155.
A. David Bullowa, May 1952.
B. Lester Merkin (4/1966), lot 71.
C. 1971 ANA (Stack's), lot 617.
Bright surfaces display whispers of light reddish-tan patina in the fields, and the strike is complete throughout. Magnification reveals some faint hairlines in the fields intermingled with die polish lines. A light diagonal mark on the right (left facing) breast is the sole marker to identify the coin. Extraordinary deep mirrors frame the silvery motifs on both sides, accenting the cameo appearance.
Ex: Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Three / Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2373.
From The Greensboro Collection, Part VI.(Registry values: P4) (PCGS# 84409)
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