Delightful 1846 Medium Date Gem Proof Fifty Cent
1846 50C Medium Date PR65 NGC. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman. The 1846
half dollar is rare in proof format. The Kaufman specimen, earlier
from the famous Pittman Collection, is considered by most
knowledgeable numismatists to be the finest known example.
Considered the Finest Known
The half dollar of this year displays two date sizes-Medium Date and Large Date. The two varieties are easily distinguished by inspection of the 4 in the date. The Medium Date 4 is connected between the lower serif of the crossbar and the base, whereas the Large Date 4 has a noticeable separation in this area.
Wiley and Bugert (1993) indicate that less than 10 Medium Date proofs are known, and that the number of Large Date proofs is unknown. Breen (1989), on the other hand, lists seven Medium Date proofs and one Large (or Tall) Date. Of the latter he says: "I saw this coin about 1953, attributed it as Beistle 5-C, but have no record of its present location."
David Akers, cataloging John Jay Pittman's 1846 proof set for the May 20-21 sale dates, suggests that 10 to 12 examples of the half dollar coin are extant. Interestingly, NGC/PCGS population data for this issue deviate significantly from estimates provided by the foregoing researchers, as the two services have seen a total of 22 1846 proof half dollars. NGC has certified two PR65 examples, two in PR64, four PR63s, and three PR62s; PCGS has graded three each in PR64, PR63, and PR62, and two specimens as PR61. In all likelihood, a fair number of the certified pieces are resubmissions.
The following roster of 1846 proof half dollars is based on the review of plated catalogs available to us:
1. PR65 NGC. The Pittman-Kaufman coin. This is the only certified PR65 that we are able to identify. As such, we feel that the Kaufman specimen is probably the finest known.
2. PR64 NGC. Phil Kaufman; Bowers and Merena (8/1999), lot 202; Superior (10/2000), lot 4374.
3. PR63 PCGS. Stack's (6/1999), lot 2222. Catalogers say of this "Tall Date" example: "Possibly unique as Proof"; George "Buddy" Byers Collection (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1138.
4. PR63 NGC. Central States (Heritage, 5/2005), lot 7208. Catalogers say: "A thin ... scratch is seen laterally across the obverse resulting in the PR63 grade."
5. PR63 SEGS. Heritage (1/2002 FUN Sale), lot 6997; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 7/2005), lot 552.
6. PR61. The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1935.
7. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.
A. PR65. Bowers and Merena (9/1988), lot 201.
B. PR63 PCGS. Heritage (2/2007), lot 3509.
C. Brilliant Proof. The Winter Collection (Stack's, 1-2/1974), lot 1440. Catalogers say: "From a Paramount Fixed Price offering and then sold as lot 744 in Lester Merkin's Feb. 1971 Sale."
The Gem we present in this lot is an extremely attractive example, made so by rich medium-intensity toning, a powerful strike, and nicely preserved surfaces. A medley of sky-blue, russet, and lavender occupies both sides, but does not diminish the field-motif contrast when the piece is rotated under a light source. Bold definition characterizes all of the design elements. Indeed, close examination reveals no areas with even the slightest hint of weakness. A couple of grade-consistent marks aid in the identification of the coin, including minute contact in the field to the left of star 11 and a faint line above TATE of STATES. Proof halves of 1846 do not appear at auction all that frequently, so the connoisseur of early Seated Liberty proofs will want to give special attention to this delightful specimen.
From The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Three. (NGC ID# 27T8, PCGS# 6390)
View all of [The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Three ]
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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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