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    1853 Arrows and Rays Half Dollar, PR65
    Finest Certified at PCGS
    Possibly Fewer Than Seven Examples Extant

    1853 50C Arrows and Rays PR65 PCGS Secure. CAC. WB-101. The 1853 proof Arrows and Rays Seated Liberty half dollar is a very rare issue. The mintage is not recorded, but Walter Breen hazarded a guess of five pieces struck. The Wiley-Bugert reference suggests the surviving population is "less than six known," while PCGS and NGC have graded a total of eight coins between them, with some possible duplicate submissions (4/18). We have compiled the roster below, listing all the specimens we are aware of, including six specimens that are certainly different and a seventh that may be a duplicate appearance of another coin.

    The coin offered here is a lightly toned Gem, with champagne-gold surfaces that show many die striations in the fields. These striations are identical to the marks seen on the Norweb coin, indicating they were struck from the same dies, and probably at the same time. The design elements display razor-sharp definition throughout and the fields are moderately reflective. Close inspection with a glass reveals only the most insignificant signs of contact. Population: 1 in 65, 0 finer. CAC: 1 in 65, 0 finer (4/18).

    Roster of Proof 1853 Arrows and Rays Half Dollars
    1. PR66 NGC. Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3159; Kaufman Collection; Milwaukee ANA (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1786; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2013), lot 5667.
    2. PR65 PCGS. Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1234; Charles Steigerwalt; William Woodin; Waldo Newcomer; Col. E.H.R. Green; Major Lenox Lohr Collection (Stack's, 10/1956), lot 753; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2012), lot 3252, realized $184,000, a record price for this issue; the present coin.
    3. PR65 NGC. Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1956; Rarities Sale ( Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 206; Goldberg Auctions (2/2002), lot 1002; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2003), lot 6212; Baltimore Signature (Heritage, 7/2003), lot 7646; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2003), lot 7098; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2005), lot 7098; The Eugene Gardner Collection, Part II (Heritage, 10/2014), lot 98529.
    4. PR64 PCGS Secure. CAC. Congressman Jimmy Hayes Collection (Stack's, 10/1985), lot 62; G. Lee Kuntz Collection (Superior, 10/1991), lot 2090; Baltimore Auction (Stack's Bowers, 10/2014), lot 10027.
    5. PR63 PCGS. J. Hewitt Judd Collection; Illustrated History of United States Coins (Abe Kosoff, 1962), lot 172; Stack's (10/1990), lot 1651; Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1795, as PR63 NGC.
    6. Proof. Reed Hawn Collection (Stack's, 8/1973), lot 178. Possibly the same as the Judd-Richmond example.
    7. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.

    Additional Appearances
    A. Proof. Joseph Mickley Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1867), lot 1799.
    B. Proof. Mendes I. Cohen Collection (Edward Cogan, 10/1875), lot 646.
    C. Proof. W.H. Smith Collection (John W. Haseltine, 1/1883), lot 258.
    D. Proof. Peter Mougey Collection (Thomas Elder, 9/1910), lot 565, possibly only a prooflike specimen, described as "Proof, or Proof surface."
    E. Proof. Peter Mougey Collection (Thomas Elder, 9/1910), lot 1277, part of an eight-piece silver and minor proof set.
    From The Jim O'Neal Collection of Proof Type Half Dollars. (NGC ID# 27TU, PCGS# 6405)

    Weight: 12.44 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

    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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