Elusive 1838 Seated Half Dollar Pattern
1838 P50C Seated Liberty Half Dollar, Judd-81 Restrike,
Pollock-88, Low R.7, PR64 Brown NGC.
Judd-81 Restrike, PR64 Brown NGC
Design. The obverse has Christian Gobrecht's Seated Liberty design, without drapery, surrounded by 13 stars, and the date below the base. LIBERTY has incuse letters. The reverse has an eagle flying to the left, holding six arrows in its left claw, and an olive branch in its hidden right claw. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA follows the border from 8 o'clock clockwise to 4 o'clock, with HALF DOL. at the lower border. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. It is thought that six to eight examples of this variety are known in copper, and they were produced in the late 1860s or early 1870s. The first known auction appearance was in the 1875 Cogan sale of the Colonel Cohen Collection. Today, three of those known are in museums--the Smithsonian Institution, the Connecticut State Library, and the Western Heritage Museum--reducing the available population for collectors.
An unattributed comment at USPatterns.com suggests that the reverse die was actually a creation of the restrike period: "To my knowledge, no originals were ever made using this reverse die. In fact, I believe that this die was actually finished many years later either in the late 1860s or early 1870s."
Physical Description. Some evidence of a weak strike is noted at the centers, with some surface roughness and minor hairlines. The fields appear nicely mirrored, with a crescent of steel-blue and violet on the obverse that accompanies bright apple-green coloration. The reverse is similar with brighter green-gold at the center. NGC Census: This coin, as well as a piece in PR66 Brown. PCGS Population: A single coin in PR64 Brown (12/08)
Provenance. Ex: Stack's private treaty. Earlier, from Auction '81 (Rarcoa, 7/1981), lot 320.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (NGC ID# 5U7W, PCGS# 11337)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]
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