1853 Arrows and Rays Half Dollar, PR65
1853 50C Arrows and Rays PR65 PCGS Secure. CAC. The 1853
proof Seated Liberty half dollar with Arrows and Rays is a very
rare issue. The mintage is not recorded, but Walter Breen hazarded
a guess of five pieces struck. The Wiley-Bugert reference suggests
the surviving population is "less than six known", while PCGS and
NGC have graded a total of eight coins between them, with some
possible duplicate submissions (11/11). We have compiled the roster
below, listing all the specimens we are aware of, including five
specimens that are certainly different and a sixth that may be a
duplicate appearance of another coin.
Possibly Less Than Six Examples Extant
1. PR66 NGC. Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3159; Kaufman Collection; Milwaukee ANA (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1786.
2. PR65 PCGS. Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1234; Charles Steigerwalt; William Woodin; Waldo Newcomer; Col. E.H.R. Green; Major Lenox Lohr Collection (Stack's, 10/1956), lot 753; the present coin.
3. PR65 NGC. Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1956; Rarities Sale ( Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 206; Goldberg Coins (2/2002), lot 1002; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2003), lot 6212; Baltimore Signature (Heritage, 7/2003), lot 7646; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2003), lot 7098; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2005), lot 7098.
4. PR63 NGC. J. Hewitt Judd Collection; Illustrated History of United States Coins (Abe Kosoff, 1962,), lot 172; Stack's (10/1990), lot 1651; Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1795.
5. Proof. Reed Hawn Collection (Stack's, 8/1973), lot 178. Possibly the same as the Judd-Richmond example.
6. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.
The coin offered here is a lightly toned Gem, with champagne-gold surfaces that show many die striations in the fields. These striations are identical to the marks seen on the Norweb coin, indicating they were struck from the same dies, and probably at the same time. The design elements display razor-sharp definition throughout and the fields are moderately reflective. Close inspection with a glass reveals only the most insignificant signs of contact. Population: 1 in 65, 0 finer (11/11). (NGC ID# 27TU, PCGS# 6405)
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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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