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    Newly Discovered 1806 O-130 Half Dollar Variety

    1806 50C Pointed 6, Stem VF30 NGC. O-130, R.8. This is the discovery piece for the new Overton-130 variety that Heritage Senior Cataloger Mark Borckardt found on January 29, 2007. The obverse is the same die that was also used for 1806 Overton varieties 123, 124, and 128, while the reverse is the same die that was also used for 1806 Overton variety 115. Not even a rumor of a second example has surfaced in the several weeks since the discovery.
    Although the existing details suggest to some that a lower grade is more appropriate, much of the lack of detail is a result of a weak strike. Areas of each side that are unaffected by the strike suggest that an even higher grade is in order. Both sides retain considerable mint luster that is consistent with a grade of at least XF40 or perhaps even finer. The fields show slight evidence of prooflike reflectiveness. Hints of faint gold toning can be seen on the highpoints of the design on each side, and the borders have lovely sea-green and russet toning that is most obvious on the obverse. There is no doubt that this piece has been cleaned, although mildly so, with only the slightest visible hairlines. Weak diagonal lines cross the vertical shield stripes and have the appearance of faint adjustment marks in that area, contributing further to the weak obverse strike. Advanced early half dollar specialists realize that most or all examples of the various die varieties produced from this particular obverse exist with weak definition.
    The obverse die is nearly perfect, with no evidence of clash marks or lapping. An extremely faint die crack begins at the upper point of star 6 and ends at the outer point of star 7. It is believed that this is the earliest use of the obverse die before it was combined with other reverse dies to produce O-123, 124, and 128. The reverse die is a late die state, with a crack beginning at the border over the left wingtip and connecting the tops of STATES, ending at the final S. Heavy clash marks from the drapery are located over clouds 7 and 8, and curve through both letters in OF. The reverse die is obviously flowlined, as a result of extensive use during the marriage with a different obverse to produce O-115. While Overton described a later state of the reverse die for O-115a, the crack described through UNITED to the border below the tail feathers has not been seen and probably does not exist. Currently, this variety is considered to be a later product of the reverse die, although any report of an example of O-115a as described in Overton would indicate an interrupted die marriage, unprecedented among the early half dollars.
    The discovery of this 1806 O-130 half dollar variety represents the pinnacle of early American numismatic study for this cataloger. While many past numismatists have had a similar experience, the cumulative efforts of so many over the years means that there is little left to be found today. In 1881, John W. Haseltine described just 15 different 1806 half dollar varieties. Martin L. Beistle described four additional varieties in 1929. The count was up to 22 varieties when Al C. Overton published the first edition of his reference in 1967. His revised edition, published in 1970, listed 25 varieties. Two more varieties were discovered between 1970 and 1990 and two more between 1990 and 2005, bringing the count to 29 known varieties, and now this 30th variety was discovered earlier this year.
    New varieties continue to be found in all of the various denominations, despite the cumulative study of numismatists over many years. Literally within days of the discovery of this half dollar variety, friend and numismatist Edgar Souders discovered a new 1835 half dime variety. While it requires a careful eye to find a new variety in any series, it is important to remember that numismatic discoveries are still waiting to be made.
    From The Hoosier Discovery Collection.(Registry values: N991) (NGC ID# 24EJ, PCGS# 6071)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

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

    View all of [The Hoosier Discovery Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2007
    9th-12th Wednesday-Saturday
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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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