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Extremely Rare Choice Proof 1845 Half1845 50C PR64 NGC. A gorgeous near-Gem of this significant rarity. Golden-brown, plum-red, forest-green, and electric-blue freckles adorn the margins, while the fields and devices are a light to medium tan-gray. As befits a proof, the strike is razor-sharp, even on Liberty's hair and on the eagle's ankles. The denticles are sharply squared off with no hint of sloping toward the field. Those who track pedigrees of important coins can identify the present piece by a curly lintmark left of the date, and a whisper of granularity beneath the A in HALF.
All of the certified proof 1845 half dollars appear to be from the same pair of dies. The date is entered low, and the base of the 1 is recut. A die dot appears beneath the left edge of the 8. The 4 is centered over a denticle, the 1 is centered between denticles. On the reverse, a faint die crack and die line extend left from the right foot of the F in HALF. Several delicate die lines appear on the field inside the shield, and the die is incompletely prepared between the lowest two arrowheads and between the olive leaves.
The 1845 is plentiful as a business strike, but proofs are of the greatest rarity. PCGS has certified a single specimen, as PR63. NGC has encapsulated three pieces, two as PR64 and a solitary PR66. The PR66 is from The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, and is part of the present FUN Signature auction. The other NGC PR64 was lot 3662 in an October 1990 Superior auction, and the PCGS PR63 is presumably the Eliasberg specimen, which last appeared at auction in 2005 in an NGC PR63 holder as part of the Richmond Collection. An example in the Smithsonian Institution is likely to remain forever out of collector hands. This makes five confirmed proof 1845 half dollars, the same number as the 1913 Liberty nickel. While that famous rarity is uncollectible by those without their own tropical island, the present proof 1845 is within reach of the advanced collector. (NGC ID# 27T7, PCGS# 6389)
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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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