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Norweb's Select Proof 1859 Transitional Half Dime

1859 H10C Transitional PR63 PCGS. Ex: Norweb. The famous Transitional variety, listed in the Ninth Edition of United States Pattern Coins as Judd-232, but listed in the 2007 Guide Book within the regular Seated half dime series. Breen also regarded it as a regular issue, and cataloged it as Breen-3096. The Guide Book estimates a mintage of 20 pieces, all struck as proofs. The 1860 Transitional issue is significantly more available, and has an estimated production of 100 pieces. Unlike the 1859 issue, the 1860 pieces are business strikes, and exhibit "weakness at rock and upper l. wreath," per Breen.
These 1859 and 1860 varieties are sometimes referred to as "Stateless," since the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is omitted. This legend occurred on the reverse of the 1838-1859 Stars Obverse type, and on the obverse of the appropriately named Legend Obverse type, produced from 1860 until the "Crime of 1873" ended the denomination in 1873. The two Transitional varieties mule the cereal wreath reverse of the Legend Obverse type with an anachronistic stars obverse.
Breen unhesitatingly asserts that Mint Director James Ross Snowden was responsible for the Transitional issues, "to provide collectors with something special, ostensibly for trades to benefit the Mint Cabinet collection of Washington coins and medals." The Transitional pieces use Paquet's briefly-used obverse hub, which has curious hollow stars and a differently executed face on Liberty. The Paquet 1859 half dimes are one of his few modified designs to reach circulation, although he is well known in numismatic circles for the Paquet Reverse 1861-dated double eagles.
This intricately impressed specimen is deeply toned in blended golden-brown and electric-blue shades. Examination beneath a loupe reveals mint-made field striations, but hairlines are scarce. Aside from the unique 1870-S, the Transition 1859 is the key to a complete set of Seated half dimes. Housed in a circa-1992 green label holder. Population: 1 in 63, 1 finer (12/06).
Ex: Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/87), lot 359; earlier from the Palace Collection of King Farouk, 1954, perhaps within lot 1693. (PCGS# 4440)

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Auction Dates
February, 2007
14th-17th Wednesday-Saturday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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