1840 Half Dollar, PR63
1840 50C PR63 PCGS. Small letters, the Reverse of 1839, as
on all Philadelphia Mint products (the Medium Letters with 1840
date are actually New Orleans coins with mintmark not visible).
Decidedly rare; while a precise mintage figure is unavailable, it
must have been small, and the traditionally given amount is just
six specimens. This is the Reed Hawn - Hain Family coin, once
graded PR63 by NGC but crossed over to PCGS.
Extremely Rare Early Proof
The Reed Hawn Specimen
While striking softness is noted on the obverse stars and the lower parts of the eagle's body, the reflectivity and definition elsewhere conveys "proofness." Toning is light, gold-green to blue with considerable dappling. Lightly hairlined but attractive.
A roster for this proof issue, updated from our August 2007 offering of the Pittman-Kaufman specimen, follows.
1. PR65 NGC. James Kelly (1946, privately); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1519; The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part One (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1782.
2. PR65. Gustav Lichtenfels (Kreisberg and Schulman, 2/1961), lot 2801; Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3125.
3. PR64 NGC. Richmond Collection; The Estate of Winthrop A. Haviland, Jr. (Goldberg, 9/2010), lot 1567. Distinctly different from item B below.
4. PR63 PCGS (formerly PR63 NGC). The present coin. Reed Hawn (Stack's, 8/1973), lot 128; Hain Family (Stack's, 1/2002), lot 1452; Heritage Internet (9/2002), lot 11477.
5. Proof. Allenburger Collection (B. Max Mehl, 3/1948), lot 982; Floyd Starr (Stack's, 10/1992), lot 547.
6. PR60 PCI. Superior (9/1999), lot 1277; George Byers (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1116.
In addition to these five, three other pieces have not been matched to any above:
A. PR65 PCGS. Listed on the PCGS Population Report, and probably one of the pieces listed above.
B. PR64 NGC. Heritage Internet (5/2002), lot 15319. Possibly the Norweb piece or the Starr specimen.
C. PR60. Bowers and Merena (5/1995), lot 1105. (NGC ID# 27T2, PCGS# 6384)
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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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