1884 PR68, One of Two PCGS-Finest Proof Seated Halves1884 50C PR68 PCGS. Breen-5034, WB-101. This is the "second die" described in Breen's proof Encyclopedia, where he comments thusly: "... recutting above l. base of 1, which is above left edge [of a denticle]; rev. of 1885 proofs, 1st white stripe polished, left end of scroll broken away." This incredible, superlative example shows the "tab" toning favored by many numismatists and color aficionados, with copper-golden centers that meld into electric-blue and pink-champagne borders on both sides.
This is an extremely special half dollar, one that was obviously struck with great care and pride of craftsmanship by Mint personnel of 120+ years ago. Despite the Breen comment above, there are no obvious signs of die lapping or polishing in any one particular area, aside from the missing scroll end. The dies do appear, however, to have been strengthened, particularly in the area around Liberty's sandal and foot, which show three distinct, double-sided straps and separation of all the toes. All the star centrils are full, and the shield stripes, the gown clasp, the drapery folds, and all other details are essentially fully struck. There are no obvious hairlines, contact marks, or other impairments on this coin, which has clearly been preserved with the same care with which it was executed in the first place. The current PCGS population data show this coin to be the only Seated Liberty half dollar of any date to be graded PR68 at that service, although one PR68 Cameo 1890 coin has been certified (6/06).
From The Stephen Stokely #1 PCGS Registry Set of Proof Seated Half Dollars. (NGC ID# 27UK, PCGS# 6445)
Weight: 12.50 grams
Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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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.
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