1856 50C Half Dollar PR66 NGC....
The date is minutely left of center with the shield point over the left curves of the 8. The lower right curve of the 6 is doubled outside, and that digit is low, leaning slightly to the right. Short diagonal file marks at the dentil tips below the 1 extend for several dentils to the left. Star 13 points to a tiny oval die chip in the right field, seen on all proofs that we have examined.
The second and third elements of the first vertical stripe extend to the third crossbar. The top part of all three elements in this stripe are thin and shallow, as if they were not hubbed into the die but finished by hand. The third element of stripes three and five fail to meet the lower shield border. Breen wrote in his Proof Encyclopedia that some examples have a the top of the first stripe entirely hollow. In the Eliasberg catalog, Dave Bowers took this a step further and specifically identified Lot 344 in the November 1979 Garrett sale as just such an example. However, careful study of both the color and black and white illustrations in that catalog reveal traces of the vertical lines through this area. The same reverse die was carried over for the 1857 proof half dollars.
All details are complete and full, exactly as they appeared in the dies. Pristine surfaces are free of defects with deep mirrors and frosty devices. Like many proofs of the era, cameo contrast is subdued by moderate to deep toning. Both sides of this Premium Gem have light reddish-gold toning on the devices, framed by pale lilac-gray and electric-blue. Census: 2 in 66, 2 finer (6/07).
From The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part One. (#6410)
(NGC ID# 27TF, PCGS# 6410)
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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.
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