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Prooflike (!) 1851 Humbert Slug

1851 $50 LE Humbert Fifty Dollar, 880 Thous. MS63 NGC. Lettered Edge. K-2, R.5. Struck during the earliest period of the Assay Office of San Francisco, this is a somewhat unusual Humbert piece. It is undated and has the denomination rather crudely punched into the dies. This is nearly the finest known of the variety, perhaps the third best. The surfaces are unusually smooth for the grade with only minor abrasions scattered across each side and the rims are especially clean. Original mint luster covers each side and there is just a hint of light reddish patina. The obverse fields are fully reflective and prooflike. Just a trifle weakly struck in the center of the obverse, as usually seen. Although two finer examples are included in the NGC population data, realistic collectors will realize that this is about as nice as one could expect or hope to find.
This is an intriguing piece of unusual manufacture. An octagonal planchet or "ingot" was produced of the proper weight. The planchet sat on a reverse die with a rudimentary engine-turned design. The piece was then struck with a circular obverse die of considerably smaller diameter, creating the design set below the surface of the wide borders. From side to side, the planchet is just over 40 mm.; however, the obverse die left an impression just 34 mm. in diameter. At the lower obverse, a large D and C, for dollars and cents, were included in the die with a thin guide line below. The denomination was then punched in, with the design leaving open the possibility of odd amounts, instead of the standard 50 Dollar denomination that is always seen. Were there ever any other denominations produced? Doubtful, yet nothing can be completely ruled out. Listed on page 295 of the 2005 Guide Book. Population: 2 in 63, 2 finer (5/05).(#10196) (NGC ID# ANH3, PCGS# 10196)

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Auction Dates
June, 2005
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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