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    1842 Small Date Half Dollar, Remarkable PR66
    The Finest Known Proof
    Ex: Pittman-Kaufman

    1842 50C PR66 NGC. WB-101. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman-Gardner. The Phil Kaufman 1842 Small Date proof half dollar is the finest of eight different examples known to us. Like the 1842 proof quarter, there is some indication that a Large Date proof half dollar variety was also struck. The only reference to the Large Date that we are aware of appears in Walter Breen's Proof Encyclopedia: "Unverified. Cf. Brand-Lichtenfels I: 2812, impaired." We examined the catalog, where lot 2812 was headlined "Rare 1842 Large Date Proof Half Dollar," and described as a Brilliant Proof. The coin was unplated, undoubtedly leading to Breen's notation "Unverified."

    This Premium Gem proof displays simply magnificent toning; iridescent aqua-blue graces the peripheries, turning to a delicate blend of iridescent violet and russet in the centers. What is especially noteworthy is that this palette is nearly uniform on both sides, which is a beautiful characteristic that is difficult to locate on early proofs such as this. The surfaces are virtually flawless, entirely free of hairlines or even the most microscopic of pedigree-determining marks. Needless to say, the combination of full strike, beautiful toning, and immaculately preserved surfaces adds up to exquisite eye appeal that is really unreflected in the numerical grade. This proof obverse die exhibits mild repunching of all four date numerals, but is most prominent on the 42. NGC and PCGS combined report a total of eight proof half dollars of 1842, with the Kaufman PR66 NGC leading the list. NGC has also seen one PR65, two PR64, and one PR62; PCGS shows three PR64 coins, one awarded a Plus designation (12/14). These numbers are artificially inflated, however, as only eight different 1842 proof half dollars are believed extant, and one resides uncertified in the Smithsonian. A roster of known proofs is given below:

    1. PR66 NGC. The Kaufman coin. R. Green (11/29/1946); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1524; Philip Kaufman Collection (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2381. The present coin.
    2. PR65 NGC. Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3131; Phil Kaufman; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 201; Central States Numismatic Society (Heritage, 5/2003), lot 6776; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2006), lot 3197; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2013), lot 5656; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2013), lot 6447.
    3. PR64 NGC. Richmond Collection, Part III (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1787.
    4. PR62. Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1922.
    5. PR60. Superior (10/2000), lot 4373. Superior catalogers note that this specimen has a "Reverse die crack ... from edge of wing to denticles between IC of AMERICA. Minor hairlines and signs of handling."
    6. Proof. World's Greatest Collection; F.C.C. Boyd (Numismatic Gallery, 4/1945), lot 255; Adolph Friedman Collection (ANA, Numismatic Gallery, 8/1946), lot 816; Stack's (3/1965), lot 443.
    7. Proof. American Numismatic Society Collection.
    8. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 27T4, PCGS# 6386)

    Weight: 13.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

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

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,055

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato

    The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato is the culmination of more than 10 years of research into the Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar series, one of the most coveted type coins in American numismatics and one about which remarkably little has been written.

    This work will be the premier reference for 1796-1797 half dollars for years to come. Institutions having an extensive numismatic library or coin cabinet will find it a valuable complement to their holdings, and catalogers charged with writing up specimens for auction can now have an indispensable source of background and pedigree information. Likewise, coin dealers seeking to purchase one or more '96 or '97 half dollars for a client or for inventory, and collectors who own, have owned, or desire to own one will want this important reference work for their libraries.

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