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    1815/2 O-101a Half Dollar, MS63
    Recent European Discovery
    Rare in Mint State

    1815/2 50C O-101a, R.2, MS63 PCGS. An interesting article appeared in the September 4, 2021 issue of Coin World, describing a United Kingdom "hoard" including a rare Mint State 1815/2 Bust half dollar (the coin offered here). This coin was part of a large collection of U.S. and world coins numbering in the thousands, stored in tobacco tins and secured in a canvas bag for decades under the staircase of a British home. The collection was inherited by Darren Edmonds of the Birmingham, England area, who is quoted in the article that the 1815/2 half dollar was part of a longtime family collection:

    "... (It was) part of my father's collection. Some were his father's, so they have been in my family for more than 80 years. I doubt he knew its real value."

    Edmunds added that his father was a toolmaker for many years at the Austin Motor Car Company, where he often bought, sold, and traded coins with his fellow workers. The 1815/2 half dollar stood out among all the other coins in the collection. It was sent to the United States for PCGS evaluation, where it received a Select Uncirculated designation. Heritage is pleased to offer this exceptional coin now.
    Not only does the 1815/2 half dollar claim the lowest mintage in the Capped Bust Lettered Edge series, it is somewhat amazing that any 1815 half dollars were struck at all. The Mint lacked silver bullion in a time when virtually all silver coinage was hoarded -- a legacy of the War of 1812. Depositors hoarded all forms of silver and gold bullion. The Mint finally managed a minuscule mintage of 47,150 half dollars plus a mintage of 89,235 quarters. Most of the 1815 quarters (69,232 pieces) were delivered to Planters Bank of New Orleans in December 1815 based on instructions from that depositor.

    All remaining quarters and the entire half dollar mintage were delivered on January 10, 1816 to the Bank of the United States in Philadelphia. The next day, a fire at the Mint destroyed its rolling and milling machinery, and no more silver coinage was issued until 1817. Unused dies from 1812 were used to strike the 1815/2 half dollars -- a single overdated die pair struck the entire mintage. The dies clashed early and often. The reverse die cracked extensively, but continued in service until its demise.

    This late die state example shows a bold die crack from the second A in AMERICA downward through the denomination to the rim below the olive leaves. Another crack emerges from the lower-left leaf pair and travels through UN of UNITED, following the letter tops to OF, then turns downward through F to the scroll beneath the first A of AMERICA. Multiple die clashes are seen on each side.

    A thin remnant of the underdigit 2 is visible above the top-right curve of 5 in the date. Soft mint luster glows beneath attractive and original silver-gray surfaces, intermixed with a few flecks of deep-gray Mint residue. The strike is remarkably bold given the advanced die state, with every star pinpoint-sharp and Liberty's curls equally well-defined. The cap and drapery folds are well-formed. All 1815/2 half dollars are in strong demand from date collectors of all series, as well as from Overton variety specialists. This Select Uncirculated example is conditionally rare and sure to inspire many strong bids in what is its first auction appearance in more than eight decades, or perhaps ever. Population: 4 in 63, 7 finer (8/21).

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 24F5, Variety PCGS# 39492, Base PCGS# 6108)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2021
    7th-10th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 746

    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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