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    1839 'Backward Head' Half in Silver
    Judd-95 Restrike, PR66
    Ex: Garrett-Bass

    1839 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-95 Restrike, Pollock-103, R.8, PR66 PCGS. Ex: Garrett-Simpson. Sometimes called the Backward Head, this pattern features an obverse much like that found on the regular-issue 1839 gold eagles, with a rounded tip on the forward edge of the bust truncation and a pointed tip on the rear edge -- but the entire head is facing backward from that on the eagle, right rather than left. Thirteen stars ring the rim, with date 1839 below. The reverse is from the regular-issue Seated Liberty die, Medium Letters, as seen on the 1840 half dollars. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. Only two pieces are known in silver.

    All of the various half dollar patterns of 1838 and 1839 are incredibly rare to unique -- with the sole exceptions of the Judd-72 and 73 in silver -- and all are monumentally important. These pieces represent a profound shift in design, from the older Capped Bust style to more-modern designs, and as such are significant previews of the future of U.S. silver coinage.

    Much of the original silver surface remains on each side with additional layers of pale blue and rose toning. The strike is fully brought up in all areas.
    Ex: Édouard Frossard; T. Harrison Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection, Part I (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1979), lot 366; Auction '81; Harry Bass Collection, Part I (Bowers and Merena, 5/1999), lot 1153; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 5/2004), lot 556; Southern Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 297A, PCGS# 11406)

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

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    2nd Friday
    Auction Dates
    21st-26th Wednesday-Monday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    156 Days
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