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1844 Half Dollar, PR66 Cameo
Ex: Pittman-Kaufman, From an Original 1844 Proof Set
The Finest of Only Four Proofs Known

1844 50C PR66 Cameo NGC. Only two 1844 proof half dollars have been certified. The NGC census records the Premium Gem Cameo proof Kaufman coin, and a PR62 piece. PCGS has not certified a single example of this rarity. The Kaufman specimen was part of the John Jay Pittman 1844 Proof Set "In Original Case of Issue" sold by David Akers Numismatics, Inc. in October 1997. Akers writes:

"The non-gold coins in the 1844 set were purchased by JJP as an original Proof set in the original case (with price list) from Abe Kosoff of Numismatic Gallery on 4/5/48 for $400. (Almost certainly this is the set formerly owned by Dr. J. Hewitt Judd, a good friend of both JJP and Abe Kosoff.)" Akers continues: "It is likely that only 10-15 Proof sets were issued in 1844 ... ."

Randy Wiley and Bill Bugert, writing about the 1844 circulation strike and proof half dollars in their Seated half dollar reference, say of the proofs "less than 10 known." Interestingly, after 25 years of third-party grading, the population reports show a mere two certified examples.

1844 Proof Half Dollar Roster
1. Proof 66 Cameo. The Kaufman specimen. Numismatic Gallery (4/1948); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 833; Philip Kaufman. Part of Pittman's 1844 proof set. The silver coins were kept intact by Phil Kaufman until they were sold individually in our Platinum Night Signature in the FUN 2008 auction. The present coin was lot 3026, where it brought $149,500.
2. Proof. Stack's (1/1974), lot 1437; Robison Collection (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 1622.
3. Proof. Stack's (9/1993), lot 358. Stack's described this piece as a hairlined example, although they did not plate the coin in their catalog. It is probably different than the Robison coin, and is certainly not the Smithsonian or Pittman coins.
4. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.

Additional Appearances
A. Impaired Proof. Kreisberg-Schulman (2/1961), lot 2816. Not plated. Described as having "numerous tiny field scratches." It is possibly the same as the Stack's 1993 specimen.

Soft reddish-gold patina dominates the obverse central device. This turns to cobalt-blue, violet, and gold in the fields. The reverse is a lighter, more uniform champagne-gold with just a hint of blue at the margins. A strong strike shows intricate detail on each of the design elements, which are noticeably highlighted by the bright mirrored fields. While we note a few faint hairlines in the fields that are only visible under magnification, we can discern no marks that might help identify the coin for future catalogers.
From The Greensboro Collection, Part II. (NGC ID# 27T6, PCGS# 86388)

View all of [The Greensboro Collection, Part II ]

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Auction Dates
January, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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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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