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    Description

    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).
    Collecting Patterns – A Brief History and Commentary

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


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

    View all of [Important Selections from The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part II ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2020
    19th-22nd Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 25
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 830

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