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    1811 Small 8 Bust Half, MS68
    Phenomenal O-105a, Blatant Originality
    None Finer

    1811 50C Small 8, O-105a, R.2, MS68 NGC. CAC. Early half dollars were important instruments of commerce in the early 19th century. With the cessation of silver dollar coinage in 1804, the half dollar became the largest silver coin of the U.S. series. Banks found it convenient to keep large numbers of half dollars in their vaults to meet their reserve obligations. When silver dollar coinage was resumed, the larger coins were more suitable for this function, and most of the half dollars were eventually released into circulation. Gem or finer Uncirculated coins are rare today, and collectors prize any high-grade specimen.

    The present coin is apparently the finest known 1811 half dollar regardless of variety. The current example grades at least a full point higher based on the Overton reference. Steve Herrman's Auction & Mail Bid Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars 1794-1839 concurs. According to Herrman's Spring 2021 report, the present coin is still the undisputed champion, with the closest contender a solitary MS67. Long ago (1995), this example was featured as lot 5571 in The Museum of Connecticut History Sale (Heritage, 6/1995). In that sale, we described it as follows:

    "This is an exceptional piece that is virtually blemish free. The surfaces are highly lustrous with warm, glowing mint frost beneath the light gray patina that covers both sides. The peripheries deepen to an iridescent golden, blue, and rose coloration. Very sharply struck with almost complete details on each design element. Simply amazing quality and easily the finest known example of the variety."

    A late die state example, this coin shows a lengthy reverse die crack from the dentils left of 50 C curving upward along the eagle's right (facing) outside wing, across the scroll at UM of UNUM, through TES of STATES and continuing on to the top of D in UNITED. The strike is sharp except at stars 6 and 7, where the centers weaken. The present coin is the highest-graded example at either NGC or PCGS, and CAC endorsed. Census: 1 in 68, 0 finer. CAC: 1/0 (7/21).
    Ex: Shepherd (Superior, 8/1991); Museum of Connecticut History (Heritage, 6/1995), lot 5571; Gainsborough II (Superior, 2/1997), lot 1820; 2009 FUN Sale (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 3844;The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part Two (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5546.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 24EU, Variety PCGS# 39428, Base PCGS# 6097)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 629

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    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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