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    1795 O-125 Half Dollar, MS62
    Condition Census for the Variety
    Richly Toned, Original Surfaces

    1795 50C 2 Leaves, O-125, T-13, R.4, MS62 PCGS. This attractive and wonderfully toned Flowing Hair half dollar was purchased "raw" by a private collector in the mid-to-late 1980s. It was subsequently consigned to Bowers and Merena's Frontenac Sale in late 1991 as part of a notable collection of half dollars, where it appeared in an XF45 PCGS in an early holder, prompting the following description:

    "The finest known example of this scarce and desirable Overton variety, and one that is undergraded in this cataloguer's opinion. Every strand of hair on Liberty's portrait is boldly delineated, and save for light rubbing on the eagle's breast on the reverse, every breast feather is boldly rendered... Here is a sharply struck, problem-free, aesthetically appealing example..."

    Later, the coin appeared in the March, 1998 Stack's sale where it was listed as follows:

    "Brilliant Uncirculated, a magnificent specimen solidly high up in the Condition Census for the variety. In fact, this coin exceeds the published Condition Census for O.125 by a full 20 points! Both sides are toned in a rich, medium silver gray color. Overlying this are iridescent glimmers of rose red and palest blue, together making this one of the most attractive Flowing Hair type halves we have had the privilege of cataloguing."

    The coin was purchased for the Eugene H. Gardner Collection, where it resided until 2014, at some point moving up the grading scale to AU55 PCGS. Formerly known as the finest O-125 example by a wide margin, fluctuating grading evaluations over the past two decades or so have changed the Condition Census for the variety.

    One characteristic of the coin may have influenced some of its conservative early grading. The Stack's notation reads in part: "What appear to be rim nicks at the top of the reverse are just areas where the edge lettering has pushed over the top of the rim."

    At the time, it was thought that the lettered edge device might be applied either before or after a coin was struck, thus explaining the rim irregularities -- both on this coin, and on others with similar characteristics. Yet the Castaing machine was meant to add edge lettering to blank planchets, not struck coins. If the coiner waited until after striking, the metal of the coin would harden, making the edge decoration much more difficult to apply.

    Today, many researchers suggest the edge anomalies shown on this coin are a function of the blank planchet traveling through the Castaing machine at a slight angle; in effect, the result of improperly feeding the planchet through the edge-lettering machine.

    In terms of eye appeal and technical quality, the present coin compares favorably with other representatives in the Condition Census for the variety including the Garrett, Queller, and the Northern Bay Collection coins. The coin is now certified as MS62 PCGS.

    A recut leaf below the N of UNITED is diagnostic for the O-125 reverse die, a feature that appears nowhere else in the Flowing Hair series. No adjustment marks appear on either side of this well-made half dollar, showing strong design details above the forehead, on the eagle's breast, and at the claws. Nearly full luster shines through rich amber-gold and sky-blue toning. A few ivory areas on the reverse may represent impurities in the alloy.

    Here is an excellent opportunity for the advanced collector, either to acquire a resplendent Flowing Hair type coin, or for an outstanding addition to a high-grade Flowing Hair variety set.
    Ex: Private collector; Frontenac Sale (Bowers and Merena, 11/1991, as XF45 PCGS), lot 3015; Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 3/1998, as uncertified Brilliant Uncirculated), lot 481; The Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part II (Heritage, 10/2014, as AU55 PCGS), lot 98459. (NGC ID# 24E7, Variety PCGS# 39241, Base PCGS# 6052)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Oct-Nov, 2015
    29th-1st Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,403

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) 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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