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Memorable 1839 No Drapery Seated Half, MS64
1839 50C No Drapery MS64 PCGS. CAC. The Christian Gobrecht
Liberty Seated design debuted on the silver dollars of 1836 with
Flying Eagle reverse, spreading to the silver half dimes and dimes
in 1837, the quarters of 1838, and the No Drapery half dollars of
1839, before finally ending up more than a quarter-century later on
the obverse of the silver twenty cent pieces introduced in 1875.
The Liberty Seated half dollar design lasted more than 50 years
through 1891, although the No Drapery is a single-year type, and in
extreme demand as such.
Important First-Year Type Coin
The mintage of No Drapery half dollars approached 2 million coins, but circulated examples prevail. Even pieces in the lower Mint State grades are very rare (Wiley-Bugert estimate Low R.6 in Mint State), and examples at the near-Gem level of the present specimen are memorably elusive. There are also a few proofs known of the 1839 No Drapery and they are impossibly rare, with fewer than a half-dozen examples known today. The fabulous George M. "Buddy" Byers Collection (Stack's, 10/2006) contained an example cataloged as "brilliant proof, one of apparently 4 known."
The present near-Gem business strike is softly impressed, as usual for the issue, with attractive, softly frosted mint luster. Consistent with the grade, there are few impairments or obvious signs of contact. The only identifying blemish is a reeding mark near the reverse border near 8 o'clock. Each side displays medium-density reddish-golden patina, with accents of blue around the margins. There is no sign of the reverse die cracks that some business strikes and proofs alike exhibit. A memorable Seated half, not soon to be bettered among even the most advanced collectors. Population: 8 in 64, 2 finer (3/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24GK, PCGS# 6230)
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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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