Extremely Rare 1841 Gem Proof Half Dime
1841 H10C PR65 NGC. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman. Although we have
not seen all proof half dimes of this date that currently exist, we
believe the Kaufman specimen is the finest known, or at least tied
for the finest known. While the number of 1841 proof half dimes
that were minted was apparently unrecorded, Walter Breen, in his
1988 Encyclopedia says "possibly 8 proofs." This estimate
more or less coincides with the current NGC/PCGS population
reports, which illustrate five pieces graded by NGC--PR63, a PR63
Cameo, a PR64, and two PR65 coins, one of which is the present
Pittman-Kaufman coin. PCGS has seen one example-a PR63.
Tied for the Finest Certified
In his cataloging of the 1841 proof half dime from the John Jay Pittman Collection David Akers writes:
"The Proof silver coins of 1841 are all extremely rare, indeed, among the rarest of the entire decade. Unlike the silver dollar and the two copper denominations, which were all struck in additional quantities, the Proof Half Dime was struck only for inclusion in the year's Proof sets, which probably numbered about 10. No more than 5-6 Proof 1841 Half dimes are known today. Eliasberg, Norweb, Garrett, and Starr, all great collections, failed to have a Proof of this issue."
Our research of auction records resulted in the following roster of 1841 proof half dimes:
1. PR65 NGC. The present Kaufman piece. David Bullowa (5/1952); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/ 1997), lot 465, $15,400.
2. PR65 NGC. Superior (5/1990), lot 3567, $5,775; Phil Kaufman; Bowers and Merena (3/1998), lot 501, $15,400. Mr. Kaufman owned this coin when he purchased the Pittman specimen, which he felt was the nicer coin. This duplicate was sold a few months later.
3. PR64 NGC. Harlan P. Smith (S.H. and H. Chapman, 5/1906); John M. Clapp; Clapp Estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 955; Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1082, $20,700.
4. PR63 NGC. Superior, (10/2000), lot 4320, $6,900; Goldberg Coins (5/2001), lot 473, $9,488; Superior (6/ 2002), lot 4140, $14,950.
5. PR62. Stack's (11/1989), lot 394, $6,050.
6. PR60 ANACS. Stack's (12/1999), lot 1592; Superior (10/2000), lot 4321, $3,105.
7. PR60. 1987 ANA (Bowers and Merena, 8/1987), lot 237; Stack's (3/1991), lot 1504, $2,750; Stack's (3/ 1996), lot 249, $1,155.
8. Proof. New England Rare Coin Auctions (3/1997), lot 41.
9. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.
A. PR63 NGC. Teletrade (4/1992), lot 347, $8,193. This is almost certainly the same PR63 NGC above.
B. Proof. William Cutler Atwater (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1147. "Proof, but not in full brilliancy. Slightly rubbed on obverse field. A beautiful specimen just the same."
C. Proof. Dr. Charles W. Green (B. Max Mehl, 4/1949), lot 1086.
A wonderful mélange of deep reddish-gold, electric-blue, and violet toning bathes the obverse of this Gem proof, while slightly lighter shades of sky-blue and gold-beige patina reside on the reverse. The depth of the toning does not diminish the high degree of contrast between the mirrored fields and satiny motifs. A bold strike brings out razor-sharp definition on the design elements, and a high wire rim encircling both sides frames sharp dentilation. Well cared-for surfaces render it difficult to discern identifying markers.
This coin is cataloged as Valentine-1, a proof-only variety, as per Daniel Valentine (The United States Half Dimes). The two 1's in the date are slightly lower than the 8 and the 4, a die scratch is visible below the arm holding the Liberty cap, and there is a slight flaw above the D of UNITED.
We expect that the Kaufman specimen's outstanding eye appeal and technical quality will generate spirited bidding among connoisseurs of Seated Liberty proof coinage.
From The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 2359, PCGS# 4417)
View all of [The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two ]
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