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    Important Key 1878-S Half Dollar, VG8

    1878-S 50C VG8 PCGS. The 1878-S half dollar ranks as one of the most elusive and enigmatic issues from the later years of the Liberty Seated half dollar series. In an October 15, 2002 article for Numismatic News, billed as "Seated Halves fun in circulated grades," Paul M. Green wrote: "The one date which confuses one and all is the 1878-S, which had a reported mintage of 12,000."
    Green further notes that while that mintage seems minuscule, the Philadelphia issues that followed all had lower mintages until 1887. Such a fact, however, hardly takes away from the issue. Wiley and Bugert (1993) offer their own explanation for the low production: "Most likely, the rarity is due to the implementation of the Bland-Allison Act of 1878 which required mints to purchase vast amounts of silver bullion and mint silver dollars."
    In that high-commerce era, virtually every smaller silver coin went into heavy use, so perhaps it is no surprise that the issue is a condition rarity in any grade. As with all keys, knowledge of any diagnostics is useful. On the reverse, the space between the left edge of the shield and the first vertical stripe shows a raised lump, even on significantly worn examples such as the present piece.
    The opportunity to acquire an example of this coveted issue comes only infrequently; this is only the ninth appearance of a representative in a Heritage auction. On this appealing coin, obverse shield shows the L and Y of LIBERTY plainly, with partial definition at the R and T. The fields are violet and slate-blue with elements of honey-gold, while the devices show starkly contrasting sandstone coloration. Aside from an abrasion on the eagle's right (facing) wing and a few scattered marks around the mintmark, the surfaces are surprisingly clean. All factors considered, an excellent opportunity to acquire an example of this fascinating and fantastic issue.(Registry values: N4719)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 24KR, PCGS# 6360)

    Weight: 12.50 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2008
    9th-12th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,451

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