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    Description

    1838 No Drapery Half Dime, PR66 ★
    Extremely Rare in Proof Format
    Finest Known Example

    1838 H10C No Drapery PR66 ★ NGC. The 1838 half dime is extremely rare in proof format. The Kaufman specimen, earlier from the famous Eliasberg Collection, is easily the finest known proof 1838 half dime. It is our belief that just two or three proofs are known. Walter Breen, in his 1988 Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, says "About 5 proofs" were minted. Similarly, Al Blythe, in The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dimes, gives the proof mintage as "5 to 6." The present certified population falls well short of these production estimates. Just two examples have been certified, a PR63 and the present PR66 , both NGC graded.

    Expectedly, there have been few public auction appearances of the 1838 proof half dimes over many years. Our pedigree roster is based on a review of those auction appearances known to us:

    1. PR66 ★ NGC. The Philip Kaufman specimen. Matthew A. Stickney (Henry Chapman, 6/1907); John M. Clapp; Clapp Estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 943; Philip Kaufman. The present specimen.
    2. PR65. David Bullowa (5/1952), lot 1032; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 455.

    Additional Appearances
    A. Proof. Adolph Friedman, 1946 American Numismatic Association (Numismatic Gallery, 8/1946), lot 52, $11. "With stars. No Drapery. Gem steel-blue proof. Rare." Not plated. This is possibly the Pittman Collection coin, number 2 in the roster above.
    B. PR63 NGC. Appears on the NGC Census Report, and possibly the same as the Pittman coin, but more likely a third known proof, probably one of the other two appearances listed here.
    C. Proof. Abner Kreisberg and Hans M.F. Schulman (2/1960), lot 1110. This coin is described in the catalog as "Gem Proof, very rare" with no further details or photo.


    The Eliasberg-Kaufman coin is attributed as Valentine-6, and the Pittman coin is identified as Valentine-10, with a prominent break between the wreath and AMERICA. The obverse of V-6 has several extra points showing in star 3, a misshapen star 8 with the lowest right ray defective at the tip and larger than the others, and the reverse has the right bases of the first T in STATES and the first A in AMERICA double punched, and notching on the tip of the innermost leaf under the D of DIME. A narrow crescent of coarse vertical die lines is evident along the rim between 9 and 12 o'clock on the obverse. Magnification brings out die polish lines in the fields, which are heavier on the reverse.

    Deeply mirrored fields and fully lustrous motifs create obvious cameo contrast, and the strike is strong throughout. The star radials are bold, with the sole exception of minor softness in those of star 11, and there is complete separation of Liberty's foot, sandal, and associated straps. Liberty's hair is also crisp, as is the ribbing in the leaves of the reverse wreath; only the leaf cluster beneath the first S of STATES reveals slight weakness. Impeccable preservation characterizes the surfaces on both sides, such that is nearly impossible to locate markers for pedigree purposes. With this combination of attributes, it is no wonder that NGC saw fit to assign the coveted Star designation to this splendid Premium Gem proof half dime.
    Ex: Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 3016, where it realized $97,750.
    From The Greensboro Collection, Part V.(Registry values: P4)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 7GSD, PCGS# 4408)

    Weight: 1.34 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper


    View all of [The Greensboro Collection, Part V ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2014
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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