1841-O Seated Liberty Half Dollar, MS65
1841-O 50C MS65 NGC. WB-101. Large O. President Andrew
Jackson signed a bill on March 3, 1835, authorizing the
establishment of a branch mint in New Orleans. The city served as a
major port for both the South and the West, and a substantial
amount of gold and silver arrived there as part of the commercial
transactions, making it a logical location for a new mint facility.
By the spring of 1838, they were ready to begin production.
However, the annual yellow fever epidemic forced the closure of the
mint for three months in the fall. The first half dollars were
struck for circulation purposes beginning in 1839. Like Charlotte
and Dahlonega, the New Orleans Mint also experienced production
difficulties early in its existence. Dies were used until they
cracked dramatically, and various striking issues abound. Wiley and
Bugert cite examples with iron fragments struck into their
Conditionally Scarce, Only Two Finer
The half dollar mintage was healthy at New Orleans in 1841, with just over 400,000 pieces struck. The number is higher than Philadelphia's output in the same year, an indication of the thriving demand for coinage in the bustling Southern port city. The same high demand that led to the creation of so many halves, however, also caused the vast majority of them to disappear into circulation channels, and most of the survivors known today exhibit substantial wear. Only a handful of high-end Mint State pieces are available to 21st century collectors.
Attractively toned, this Gem survivor displays lustrous surfaces beneath a golden patina. Also present are small scattered splashes of green-blue, copper-orange, and russet. The reverse exhibits a degree of the strike softness that affects the high points of virtually all survivors, along with a number of wispy die cracks. Scattered abrasions appear, but they are minor.
NGC has awarded MS65 grades to only three examples, with only two finer, both MS66. PCGS has yet to award an MS65 grade or higher to a single example (11/13).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 24GS, PCGS# 6237)
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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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