Exquisite 1846 Half Dollar, PR651846 50C Medium Date PR65 PCGS. CAC. When we cataloged the Pittman-Kaufman coin, we stated it was the only certified PR65 example, and probably the finest known. Since then, the present specimen has also been certified by PCGS. We believe the two pieces are virtually tied for finest known honors. Approximately 10 proof 1846 half dollars are known in all, including seven examples listed in our roster that appeared in the Kaufman catalog. Some new information has come to light since that offering, so we now present a revised roster of ten different examples:
1. PR65 PCGS. The present specimen. Auction '79 (Paramount, 7/1979), lot 79; Bowers and Merena (9/1988), lot 275.
2. PR65 NGC. Numismatic Gallery (7/1949); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1712; Phil Kaufman (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2386. Sold in the Pittman sale as a complete 10-piece 1846 proof set.
3. PR64 NGC. Phil Kaufman; Bowers and Merena (8/1999), lot 202; Superior (10/2000), lot 4374.
4. Tall Date. PR63 PCGS. Stack's (6/1999), lot 2222; George "Buddy" Byers Collection (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1138. Apparently the only known proof 1846 Tall Date half dollar.
5. PR63 PCGS. Heritage (2/2007), lot 3509.
6. PR63 NGC. Central States (Heritage, 5/2005), lot 7208.
7. PR63 SEGS. Heritage (1/2002 FUN Sale), lot 6997; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 7/2005), lot 552.
8. PR61. The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1935.
9. Proof. James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 10/1994), lot 512; George "Buddy" Byers (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1137.
10. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.
A few additional auction appearances over many years probably represent the same pieces recorded above, although the quality of older plates, when they were plated at all, makes plate-matching nearly impossible.
This lovely Gem proof is deeply toned gold and lilac at the centers and peripheral blue on each side. The fields are fully and deeply mirrored with lustrous and boldly detailed devices. It is an exceptional, highly appealing piece, despite the presence of a few faint hairlines. (NGC ID# 27T8, PCGS# 6390)
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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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