Marvelous 1848 Half Dollar, PR66
1848 50C PR66 NGC. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman. The Premium Gem 1848
proof half dollar is one of the rarest coins in the Phil Kaufman
collection, and the finest known of an exceedingly sparse
population. Randy Wiley and Bill Bugert, in their Complete Guide
to Liberty Seated Half Dollars, state: "Less than 4 known."
Walter Breen (1989), on the other hand, lists six examples,
including one in the Smithsonian Institution. Similarly, David
Akers (1998) estimates five or six specimens, while NGC and PCGS
have graded a mere three coins.
The Finest Known
Our research accounts for five distinct 1848 proof half dollars:
1. PR66 NGC. The Kaufman coin. Newcomb, part II (James G. MacAllister and Wayte Raymond, 5/1945), lot 859; John Jay Pittman Collection (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1534.
2. PR63. Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1944.
3. Brilliant Choice Proof. Lester Merkin (2/1971), lot 751; Armand Champa Collection (American Auction Association, 5/1972), lot 890. The Merkin catalog notes that this coin is from The Empire Collection (Stack's, 11/1957), lot 1383 (unplated).
4. Brilliant Proof. Reed Hawn Collection (Stack's, 8/1973), lot 165. (While photo quality of this appearance makes plate matching difficult, we believe it is distinct from the above specimens).
5. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.
A. Brilliant Proof. World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 4/1945), lot 294.
B. Proof. Numismatic Gallery (1949 ANA Sale), lot 1505.
C. Proof. Paramount Rare Coin List #11 (10/1975).
The Kaufman specimen displays superb toning. A delicate blend of russet, sky-blue, violet, and greenish-gold resides on the obverse, yielding to mostly soft gold-orange and sky-blue on the reverse. Satiny devices stand out against mirrored fields as the coin is tilted just slightly beneath a light source, and an impressive strike delivers exquisite detail to the design features, none of which reveal even the slightest hint of weakness. No marks of consequence are visible on the impeccably preserved surfaces, enhancing even more the coin's outstanding eye appeal.
From The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part Four. (NGC ID# 5PDG, PCGS# 6392)
View all of [Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part Four ]
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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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