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    1839 Half Dollar
    Judd-97 Silver Restrike, PR65
    The 'Backward Liberty'

    1839 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-97 Restrike, Pollock-107, High R.7, PR65 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Simpson. The obverse depicts a figure of Liberty facing right on the obverse, mouth open, hair tied in a bun, one curl draping down the neck behind the ear, sporting a coronet reading LIBERTY, rounded forward bust and pointed rear bust, 13 stars around, date 1839 below. The reverse offers the regular Large Letters die seen on some regular-issue 1839-dated half dollars. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

    The design is called "Coronet Head facing right" in Judd, but it is sometimes known as the "Backward Liberty." It is strongly reminiscent of the ten dollar Coronet Head gold coins of 1838 and 1839 in the dangling curls and sharply pointed rear bust, but it nonetheless just looks decidedly odd. Because the profile of Liberty faces right rather than left, the LIBERTY on the coronet begins with the L behind the ear and the last letter Y is above the forehead. Judd comments that "neither this die nor any like it were ever used for coinage."

    This example shows die rust most perceptible on the profile of Liberty, although less so than on many of these 1860s- or 1870s-era restrikes. Lovely pale-blue and plum-rose patina prevails on well-mirrored surfaces, an extremely attractive coin. Perhaps four or five exist including the Smithsonian example, with this piece certainly among the finest. Population: 1 in 65, 0 finer (10/20).
    Ex: Anderson DuPont (Stack's, 11/1954), lot 2416; River Oaks (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1976), lot 964; Stewart Witham-Auction '81 (RARCOA, 7/1981), lot 327; Morris Evans Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1998), lot 2037; Superior (5/2003).

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 297C, PCGS# 11416)

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

    Auction Info

    Proxy Bidding Ends
    19th Thursday 5:50 pm CT
    Auction Dates
    19th-22nd Thursday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Time Remaining
    23 Days 17h 7m 42s
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    Lot Tracking Activity: 18
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    This lot is in: 1 - Signature® Floor Session (Live Floor, Live Phone, Mail, Fax, Internet, and Heritage Live):
    (Lots 3001-3279) - 6:00 PM Central Time, Thursday, November 19, 2020.
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    Additional Location Info:
    Heritage Auctions
    2801 W. Airport Freeway
    Dallas, TX 75261

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