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Remarkable 1842 Small Date Half Dollar, PR66
The Finest Known

1842 50C PR66 NGC. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman. The Phil Kaufman 1842 Small Date proof half dollar is the finest of eight different examples known to us. Like the 1842 proof quarter, there is some indication that a Large Date proof half dollar variety was also struck. The only reference to the Large Date that we are aware of appears in Walter Breen's Proof Encyclopedia: "Unverified. Cf. Brand-Lichtenfels I: 2812, impaired." We examined the catalog, where lot 2812 was headlined "Rare 1842 Large Date Proof Half Dollar," and described as a Brilliant Proof. The coin was unplated, undoubtedly leading to Breen's notation "Unverified."
NGC and PCGS have certified a total of seven proof half dollars of 1842, with the Kaufman NGC-graded PR66 leading the list. NGC has also seen a PR65, a PR64, two PR63s, and a PR62. PCGS has graded a solitary PR64. The eight different 1842 proof half dollars believed extant are listed below:

1. PR66 NGC. The Kaufman coin. R. Green (11/29/1946); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1524.
2. PR65 NGC. The Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3131; Phil Kaufman; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 201; Central States Numismatic Society (Heritage, 5/2003), lot 6776; 2006 FUN Sale (Heritage, 1/2006), lot 3197.
3. PR64 NGC. The Richmond Collection, Part III (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1787.
4. PR62. The Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1922.
5. PR60. Superior (10/2000), lot 4373. Superior catalogers note that this specimen has a "Reverse die crack ... from edge of wing to denticles between IC of AMERICA. Minor hairlines and signs of handling."
6. Proof. World's Greatest Collection; F.C.C. Boyd (Numismatic Gallery, 4/1945), lot 255; Adolph Friedman Collection (1946 ANA, Numismatic Gallery, 8/1946), lot 816; Stack's (3/1965), lot 443.
7. Proof. American Numismatic Society Collection.
8. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.

The Kaufman coin displays simply magnificent toning! Iridescent aqua-blue graces the peripheries, turning to a delicate blend of iridescent violet and russet in the centers. What is especially noteworthy is that this palette is nearly uniform on both sides. We say this because it can be difficult to locate early proofs such as this that display just about perfectly matched patination on both obverse and reverse. The surfaces are virtually flawless, entirely free of hairlines or even the most microscopic of marks. Indeed, we are unable to identify a single pedigree marker for future catalogers and researchers. Needless to say, the combination of full strike, beautiful toning, and immaculately preserved surfaces adds up to exquisite eye appeal that is really unreflected in the numerical grade.
From The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Three. (NGC ID# 27T4, PCGS# 6386)

View all of [The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Three ]

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Auction Dates
April, 2008
16th-19th Wednesday-Saturday
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The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato

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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