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    1878-S Seated Half Dollar, AU Details
    Storied Series Rarity, Few Survive

    1878-S 50C WB-101, Die Pair 1, R.5 -- Damage -- PCGS Genuine. AU Details. There is no clearer evidence of the power of the silver lobby and the clout of western mining interests than the enactment of the Bland-Allison Act of 1878. Massive silver discoveries led by the Comstock Lode in the late 1850s infused a mountain (literally) of silver into the economy with the inevitable downtrend in silver prices as reckoned in gold. The quickest and easiest solution was to mint more silver dollars in preference over smaller denomination silver coins -- far more dollars than were wanted or needed in commerce. Mintages of quarters and half dollars diminished to only token amounts. Just 12,000 halves were struck in San Francisco in 1878, and they were hard-used in circulation. The 2009 Bill Bugert reference suggests only about 60 pieces survive in all grades. Far fewer have been offered in public sales.

    This surviving example avoided excessive wear from circulation, but shows a trio of scratches on the reverse -- most notably, a deep scratch from the eagle's head across the scroll to between S and O of the legend. A smaller scrape runs through the U of TRUST to account for the Damage indicated on the holder. Less-noticeable pinscratches zig-zag across U of UNITED to the nearest leaf tip. Numerous small marks are scattered across the silver-gray surfaces that deepen in color slightly at the margins, as well as an area of deeper patina in the right obverse field. Sharp definition remains, with glimpses of the original prooflike surfaces in the recesses.

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2017
    26th-30th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 510

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) 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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