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Significant Gem No Drapery 1839 Half

1839 50C No Drapery MS65 NGC. WB-101. The 1839 No Drapery half is popular both with type collectors and Seated coinage enthusiasts, owing to its status as a first year of issue among Seated Liberty halves and a one-year subtype in the series. Looking at the entire span of Seated Liberty coinage, the 1839 No Drapery and With Drapery halves are also interesting as the only Seated Liberty denomination to make its premiere in 1839. The Seated silver half dimes and dimes appeared in 1837, joined by the Seated quarters in 1838, the half dollars in 1839, and the silver Seated dollars in 1840. Capped Bust half dollars were also struck in 1839, the final production of the old John Reich design prior to its obverse motif resurrection on the 2008 First Spouse Andrew Jackson ten dollar issue.
The 1839 No Drapery half dollar is considerably scarcer and more valuable than the 1839 With Drapery half, an elusiveness that is strongly reflected in the price guides. Demand for the introductory design type also plays an important role.
Beside the obvious presence/absence of the drapery, there are various other differences between the No Drapery and With Drapery halves of 1839. The No Drapery shows Liberty's rock much closer to star 1 than the With Drapery, and there is more rock showing under Liberty's foot than on the With Drapery. The stars are more deeply sunk into the die on the With Drapery issue, and therefore appear larger. Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht was apparently fond of making subtle design changes; witness the five different portrait styles of 1839 cents.
Both sides of this near-Gem example show satiny luster, with silver centers complementing shades of amber-gold near the rims. A small patch of tiny reeding marks through the first T in STATES will identify the present coin in any future auction appearances. The eye appeal is strong, and this piece reflects both rarity and desirability in equal measure. Census: 2 in 65, 1 finer (6/09).
Ex: Thomas S. Chalkey (Superior, 1/1990), lot 3565; Silbermünzen Collection (Heritage, 5/2008), lot 651; Dallas Signature (Heritage, 10/2008), lot 896, which realized $149,500.
From The Bay State Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 24GK, PCGS# 6230)

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Auction Dates
Jul-Aug, 2009
31st-2nd Friday-Sunday
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The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato

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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