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    1803 Large 3 Half Dollar, O-103, MS63
    Bold Eye Appeal
    Condition Census Rarity

    1803 50C Large 3, Large Reverse Stars, O-103, R.3, MS63 PCGS. CAC. Draped Bust half dollars are highly sought-after in Mint State, but the vast majority of pieces in this grade range are from the 1806 or 1807 issues, and it is unusual to encounter an 1803 half in Uncirculated condition. Mintage figures contribute to this on a marginal level; the 1806 and 1807 boast the highest production totals of the type at nearly 840,000 and more than 300,000 pieces, respectively, while the 1803 was struck to the extent of just 188,234 coins. Moreover, most surviving 1803 halves are well-circulated, grading XF or lower; AU representatives are scarce only a handful of Mint State pieces are known.

    The 1803 is divided into two chief varieties, differentiated by the size of the 3 in the date. The Large 3 variant is composed of three different die pairings (O-101, -102, and -103), all sharing the common obverse. The Small 3 variety is represented by just a single die marriage (O-104), and is thus somewhat scarcer by comparison. Of the three Large 3 varieties, O-103 is perhaps the most interesting. This variety matches the Large 3 obverse with the Large Stars reverse that is later employed for O-104, and is thus readily attributed. On this marriage, the obverse is clashed and lightly cracked through the top of LIBERTY, not surprising given this is the third and final use of this head die.

    The present Select example is one of only six Mint State Large 3 examples at PCGS, including two MS62, three MS63, and a single MS64 finer; two Small 3 examples are recorded in MS62 and MS64, respectively. All varieties included, NGC shows only eight Mint State 1803 halves, the finest of which is a sole MS63 coin, also representing the O-103 variety (5/15). This ranks the currently offered coin well-within the upper range of the Condition Census, both for this variety and for the entire issue. The frosty surfaces show modest lavender-gray and champagne hues overall, with deeper pewter-gray overtones on the high points and a few vivid ocean-blue crescents on either side of the reverse; small amber accents further explore the interior fields. The coin is a trifle weak on some of the left-hand stars, but is otherwise well-struck and devoid of adjustment marks. This CAC-endorsed condition rarity will be a landmark acquisition for a lucky Draped Bust half collector. (NGC ID# 24EF, Variety PCGS# 39273, Base PCGS# 6066)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

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

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2015
    9th-12th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,904

    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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