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    Description

    1870-CC WB-101 Seated Half, MS62
    Legendary Carson City Rarity
    One of the Two Finest Known

    1870-CC 50C MS62 PCGS. WB-101, Die Pair 3, R.6. A visually impressive coin, peripherally toned with deep, gunmetal-blue patina surrounding crisp, silvery centers. The coin is boldly struck -- especially on the obverse -- with LIBERTY fully brought up on the shield and full details on Liberty's hair curls. The star centers are complete and well-defined. First use of this obverse die shows full drapery and foot support, confirmed by the date positioned high and left. It is the second use of the reverse die in 1870, with a bit of weakness at the arrow fletchings and on the eagle's forward talon. The coin is pedigreed by a tiny mark on Liberty's chin and the distinctive toning at the margins.

    Variety: WB-101, Die Pair 3, R.6. The mintmark slants down, with the 2nd C low, and full drapery appears at Liberty's elbow to confirm the die pair.

    Population Data (7/14): PCGS shows two coins in MS61 (one is a duplicate of the MS64 piece), the present coin in MS62, and a single MS64 with none finer. NGC lists a single MS61, two MS62 coins, plus an MS63 coin, with likely crossovers and resubmissions.

    Heritage Commentary: After an initial mintage of 2,303 silver dollars in early 1870, the Carson City Mint produced small monthly mintages of half dollars. In total, the mint accomplished 54,617 half dollars for the year -- a scant number considering 300 miles away, the San Francisco Mint churned out more than 1 million half dollars during the same time period. Most Carson City halves were released into circulation, and few coins were saved by collectors (no attention was yet given to mintmarks). Today, just three (or possibly four) coins are documented as Mint State survivors, although multiple submissions at the grading services distort the numbers.

    The significance of the first half dollar Carson City issue -- and the current coin in particular -- was not fully appreciated until the early 1950s. An early plated appearance of the issue was in the Stack's Anderson Dupont sale in November, 1954 as lot 2189, (a somewhat debated appearance, although the coin pictured in the catalog is certainly this coin) where it was described as:

    "1870-'CC'. Brilliant Uncirculated with full lustre. Excessively Rare."

    The coin realized $200 -- a good price at the time. It appeared again at auction in the Stack's Empire Collection sale in November 1957 as lot 1858, where the buyer was none other than a youthful Eugene H. Gardner, who paid $210 for his prized acquisition. Gardner would eventually sell his collection in 1965 (when this coin brought $1,500, three times the presale estimate). Mr. Gardner reacquired the coin 30+ years later in the famous Stack's Queller Family sale, after intense bidding with a half dozen others including Rusty Goe, who recounts the interesting story of the auction and chronicles the history of this particular coin in his book, The Mint on Carson Street.

    Historically, the Queller/Gardner coin is one of two examples that have always occupied the top two positions of the Condition Census for 1870-CC half dollars. The other representative is the equally well-known Reed Hawn/Pryor/Osburn coin. At one time, the Reed Hawn coin was in a MS61 PCGS holder, with the Queller/Gardner coin certified MS62 PCGS sometime in 2003. At the time of the Stack's Bowers 2011 Osburn sale, the Reed Hawn coin was certified MS62 NGC, as it remained in its next appearance in the 2012 Stack's Bowers Battle Born sale. The coin has since visited the services at least once more and is now certified MS64 PCGS.

    The Queller/Gardner coin has taken a road less traveled, and remains in its 2002-2004 generation PCGS holder. Described by Rusty Goe after the Queller sale in his 2003 book:

    "Since that auction, PCGS has graded Gardner's 1870-CC half dollar MS-62, the only Uncirculated example graded by the major grading services. It is much nicer than that, and it will remain on the throne, crowned king of the 'CC' halves until another comes along to challenge it."



    The challenge has been issued by the Reed Hawn/Pryor/Osburn/Battle Born coin, and it remains to be seen how the ongoing saga plays out between these two heavyweights, the finest known Uncirculated 1970-CC half dollars.

    Consignor Commentary: For the whole story on this coin see Rusty Goe's fine book, The Mint on Carson Street. This is the second time I've owned it. It had been part of my first collection, which Stack's sold at auction in 1965. I wanted it to come back home, but to do so I had to outbid a very determined underbidder -- Rusty Goe. One of the few Mint State examples known.

    Provenance: Anderson Dupont Sale Part II (Stack's, 11/1954), lot 2189; Empire Collection (Stack's, 11/1957), lot 1444; Eugene H. Gardner/Moser L. Stadiem Sale (Stack's, 2/1965), lot 1858; Donald Groves Collection (Stack's, 11/1974), lot 441; Robison Collection (Stack's, 2/1982); lot 1694; Queller Family Collection (Stack's, 10/2002), lot 624.(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 24K2, PCGS# 6328)

    Weight: 12.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper


    View Certification Details from PCGS

    The Confident Carson City Coin Collector
    by Rusty Goe

    The Carson City Mint’s celebrated legacy — replete with landmark achievements, setbacks, mysteries and tall tales — is covered in exacting detail in Goe’s three-volume set.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    27th Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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