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    Unimprovable 1808 O-109a Half, MS67
    Tied for Finest Certified

    1808 50C MS67 PCGS. O-109a, R.3. A total of 18 Lettered Edge halves--1808 through 1836, inclusive--have been certified at the MS67 level by PCGS as of (11/08). Most of the Superb Gems in the Population Report are concentrated in the later dates of the series although, surprisingly, four such pieces are dated 1808. A study of the O-109a die marriage suggests the possibility that a small cache of this variety was saved shortly after being minted and remained under careful custodianship until being dispersed at some point. Two of the finest 1808 half dollars--both NGC-certified MS66 coins--ever to cross the auction block at Heritage were O-109a specimens, and other evidence supports the theory that a small sampling of this variety received special treatment way back in 1808.
    Regardless of variety, the piece offered here is the finest 1808 half dollar that we have had the privilege of handling. Save for non-existent reverse milling and weakness at stars 9 and 10--typical for the variety--the strike is bold. The surfaces display a light gold patination throughout, with a heavier concentration of amber iridescence and a dapple of cobalt toning at the peripheries. Mindboggling luster and incomprehensively clean surfaces defy logic; how could a coin minted in 1808 manage to survive two-hundred years in such a remarkable state of preservation?
    For the numismatic scholar, the exemplary condition of the current example offers an uncommon research opportunity. Certain features, such as die flow lines, tool marks, minute die breaks, and intricate design details--typically lost after a short time in circulation--are boldly visible. Apparently Overton and Parsley did not have access to the aforementioned high grade O-109a halves, for both the third and fourth edition of their Bust half tome lists the finest known pieces as four MS60 coins for the O-109 variety (a separate census is not provided for the late die state pieces). They also failed to identify all of the die cracks found on this and the other Premium Gem O-109a halves that we have observed. For example, a fine, circular die crack arcs from the left side of the 0 in the date and terminates at the rim between stars 1 and 2. In addition, a fine break extends from the rim above star 8, spiders through the cap, and joins the long die break mentioned in the Overton reference. Extensive die clashing--clearly visible on this piece--was likely the cause for the extensive die deterioration and a terminal state must have occurred shortly after these late die state pieces were struck. Population: 4 in 67, 0 finer (11/08).
    From The Deb-Ann Collection.
    See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 24EP, PCGS# 6090)

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    7th-11th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,022

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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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