Description

    PCGS 1854 Liberty Head Octagonal Half Dollar MS 60. BG-306A, Possibly Unique. After considerable study of this piece we have concluded that this is not a regular issue Period One half dollar. Nor is it one of the known and photographed Period Three pieces (BG-1309-1311) that are similar in design. It appears that this is a gilt die trial of a previously unrecorded die marriage of the BG-306 obverse die and the BG-305 reverse die. As one closely examines the surfaces it becomes more and more apparent that it is a gilt piece. Around the 10th star on the obverse, and the G in GOLD on the reverse the gilt has flaked away to reveal a brownish-purple core of perhaps copper (?) composition. In the fields on each side are large, raised "bubbles" where it appears that the gilt did not adhere to the base metal core. There is also an unlisted die crack between stars 8 and 9, that may not be die cracks in the strictest sense of the term, but may actually be a separation in the gilt. To conclude, this die trial is unlisted in the Breen-Gillio reference and is surely unique. It is most closely related to the trial pieces mentioned by Doering in white metal, brass, and lead for the BG-1311, each supposedly also unique. These pieces were valued by Doering at $20,000 each. We would surmise that this piece was struck by the same unknown maker sometime after 1883. It also is surely unique and an item that will be of great interest and importance to the collector of California Fractional Gold. (NGC ID# 2BJD, PCGS# 10430)

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    ‡ The owner placed a late bid on this unreserved lot and repurchased it, subject to applicable commission.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 1993
    27th Tuesday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 219
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