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    Marvelous 1845 Half Dime, PR68
    Finest Certified Example
    Far and Away the Finest Known

    1845 H10C PR68 NGC. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman. This amazing proof half dime is the finest certified by two full points! It comes out of the John Jay Pittman Collection, Part II, cataloged by David Akers in May 1998. It was part of a "Complete 1845 Proof Set in Original Case," and described by Akers as:

    "A superb, pristine specimen that is essentially 'as struck' with the exception of the addition of magnificent toning. This coin is as nearly perfect as any Proof Half Dime of this decade in existence, and is equal in all respects to the finest of the Proof half dimes that appeared in the John Jay Pitman Collection sale, Part I, in October 1997. This coin is fully struck with a sharp square edge and high wire rim. The fields are deeply mirror like and the coin has radiant proof luster under exquisite deep blue, violet and reddish-gold toning. The obverse is more deeply toned than the reverse, but the two sides are equally beautiful."

    We add to Akers' befitting description a tiny die lump located in the field between the 10th and 11th stars, and a lint mark extending from the top right of the second S in STATES through the top-most right leaves and curving back out into the field. The latter may assist in future identification of the coin.

    Most students of the early proof coins have similar opinions about the rarity, that about six to eight examples are known. Our own roster itemizes seven distinctly different pieces, but none that are even close to the Kaufman coin for overall quality. Walter Breen suggests that possibly eight are known in his Complete Encyclopedia, while Al Blythe suggested a total of six to eight proofs in his Seated half dime reference. Likewise, eight examples have been seen by NGC and PCGS combined. NGC has graded two coins PR64, two PR65, a PR66, and the PR68 Pittman-Kaufman specimen, the finest certified. PCGS reports two PR64s.

    The following is a roster of 1845 proof half dimes, based on our survey of auction records:

    1. PR68 NGC. The Kaufman coin. Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 113; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1711, as part of a complete 1845 proof set, the Seated Liberty coins kept intact by Phil Kaufman.

    2. PR66 NGC. Phil Kaufman; Bowers and Merena (1/1999), lot 1065.

    3. PR65 NGC. Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 963; Phil Kaufman; Bowers and Merena (3/1998), lot 504.

    4. PR65 NGC. Ex: Richmond. Phil Kaufman; Richmond Collection; later, Heritage (4/2005), lot 23184; Heritage (7/2005), lot 10152.

    5. PR64 PCGS. Stack's (3/1996), lot 251; Heritage (8/1997), lot 6118; Superior (10/2000), lot 4323; Superior (1/2004), lot 176.

    6. Proof. 1971 ANA (Stack's); Reed Hawn (Stack's, 8/1973), lot 604; Robison Collection (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 848; Stack's (12/1999), lot 1597.

    7. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.

    Additional Examples:

    A. Proof.
    T.K. Harvin Sale (Stack's, 6/1959); Samuel Wolfson (Stack's, 5/1963), lot 453.

    B. Proof. David Bullowa (5/1952).

    Novice collectors sometimes ask for advice to guide their hobby, and invariably someone will suggest to buy the best possible quality you can afford, or patiently wait until the highest grade piece is offered. Phil Kaufman tells the following story, that will illustrate the concept: "I bought a PR64 in 1991, then I bought the Eliasberg coin in 1996 which graded PF65 by NGC, selling the PR64, which was eventually regraded PR65 and ended up in the Richmond Collection. In April 1997, I was offered and bought a PR66, selling the Eliasberg coin at auction. When I purchased the PR68 in Pittman, I sold the PR66 at auction in 1999. Moral of the story--I have owned the top four certified specimens, which shows how the collection has been constantly upgraded. It also shows that it is much better to buy the best known as your first coin instead of settling for second or third best and having to upgrade later." Having seen the best Liberty Seated proof collections cross the auction block in the last 20 years (Norweb, Lovejoy, Starr, Eliasberg, Pittman, and now Kaufman), advanced collectors will recognize the opportunity to acquire many of the finest available pieces, perhaps for years to come.
    From The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two.(Registry values: P3)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 235D, PCGS# 4421)

    Weight: 1.34 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

    View all of [The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2008
    9th-12th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,182

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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