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All Posts Tagged With: "Bust Half Dollars"

Coin Profile: Norweb Specimen of the 1796 15 Stars Small Eagle Half Dollar Highlights B&M Sale in Baltimore

A Prooflike NGC MS-63; Tied for Condition Census #3

The Half Dollars that the United States Mint delivered in 1797 differed from the previous issues for this denomination from 1794 and 1795. For in late 1796 Mint personnel adopted Robert Scot’s Draped Bust, Small Eagle design that had already been used in the production of 1795-dated Silver Dollars for use on the Half Dollar. The delivery of 1797 amounted to a mere 3,918 pieces, the first 934 or so examples having been struck from one of two 1796-dated obverse dies.

Surprisingly for a denomination that otherwise proved extremely popular with contemporary bullion depositors, no more Half Dollars were ordered until 1801, at which time the Large Eagle variant of the Draped Bust type became current. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dollar, therefore, became an instant numismatic rarity–a two-year type with a combined mintage of just 3,918 pieces. Survivors of both dates are very scarce-to-rare in all grades, and they never fail to cause a stir among advanced collectors whenever the coins make an appearance at auction.

The 1796-dated Half Dollar delivery was achieved through the use of two obverse dies and a single reverse die in two marriages. O-101 is easy to distinguish from O-102 as the former variety exhibits only 15 stars at the obverse border. There are fewer than 100 different examples of the O-101 die marriage believed extant, an estimate that allows us to further estimate the mintage for this variety at just 569 pieces. The phenomenal Choice Unc that we offer here traces its pedigree to the fabulous Norweb Collection–as well as other important numismatic cabinets–and it is tied for Condition Census #3 for the die marriage with only two other MS-63s of which we are aware:

1. Ex: Benjamin H. Collins (1/1896); J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1997), lot 1673; Denver, CO Signature & Platinum Night Auction (Heritage, 8/2006), lot 5222. PCGS MS-63.

2. Ex: Four Landmark Collections Sale (Bowers and Merena, 3/1989), lot 1990; The Allison Park Collection Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 8/2004), lot 418; Long Beach Signature Auction (Heritage, 6/2005), lot 6209; The Southwest Collection (Heritage, 2/2008), lot 528. NGC MS-63.

3 – Ex: Waldo C. Newcomer; Colonel E.H.R. Green; The T. James Clarke Collection (New Netherlands’ 47th Sale, 4/1956), lot 1195; The Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3024; The Dennis Irving Long Collection (Bowers and Merena, 1/1990), lot 256; 65th Anniversary Sale (Stack’s, 10/2000), lot 876; The Frog Run Farm Collection Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 11-12/2004), lot 1236. NGC MS-63, the present example.

This coin is fully prooflike in finish and, in fact, the coin was cataloged as a “Proof” in New Netherlands’ 1956 sale of the T. James Clarke Collection. Numismatic scholarship having advanced considerably since the 1950s, we now know that this coin does not qualify as a proof in the strictest sense of the term. On the other hand, the fields are so well mirrored, the strike is so superior for a product of the early United States Mint and the surfaces have been so carefully preserved that we find it likely that this coin was specially prepared for presentation or other important purposes. (more…)

Heritage to Offer The Witham Collection of Capped Bust Half Dollars at Boston ANA

As a part of the upcoming 2010 August Boston, MA Signature ANA Coin Auction, Heritage will present the Witham Collection of Capped Bust Half Dollars. Bust half variety collectors will go nuts when they examine the over 170 examples in this famed collection.

Stewart P. Witham, a prominent numismatist at mid-century, specialized in half dollars in general, and Capped Bust Halves in particular. Mr. Witham was the cofounder of the Bust Half Nut Club, holding BHNC membership #1. His coins were purchased from many of the important dealers of the day.

Mr. Witham sold his collection of Capped Bust Halves circa 1983. Our consignor purchased the Collection that year, although he is uncertain about how many hands it may have passed through before it reached him. When Witham’s rarer coins appear in pedigree lists, their descriptions typically end with: “The whereabouts of this coin is unknown.” While that statement may have been true for the numismatic community at large, it was a source of some irony to the consignor.

The consignor has held the Collection intact for more than a quarter century now. Originally acquired as a hedge against inflation, the consignor carefully protected the coins, understanding their historical significance. In point of fact, he never actually touched the coins — when he removed them from their envelopes to appreciate his acquisition, he always wore cotton gloves. Over the years, he became increasingly interested in their history. He would research them over the web, and often would find himself holding a Witham coin and comparing it to the “whereabouts unknown” image. His favorite coin was the 1817/4 O-102 rarity, with only nine known survivors, which is now graded VF20 by PCGS.

The Collection has remained in Pennsylvania for the last 27 years, but the consignor wishes to remain anonymous. Where the coins will be this summer is a certainty — on the auction block in Boston selling to someone who most likely holds a substantially higher BHNC membership number!

A few of the other highlights of this collection include:

* 1807 Capped Bust Half Dollar Large Stars, 50 Over 20, O-111, R.6 VF30 PCGS
* 1812/1 Half Dollar, O-101, R.5 Large 8 Genuine PCGS
* 1817 Half Dollar, O-104, R.6 Genuine PCGS
* 1823 Half Dollar, O-109, High R.5 AU58 PCGS
* 1827 Half Dollar, O-137, R.6 VF30 PCGS
* 1827 Half Dollar, O-124, R.5 AU58 PCGS
* 1827 Half Dollar, O-144, High R.5 AU55 PCGS
* 1828 Half Dollar, O-105, R.5 MS62 PCGS
* 1830 Half Dollar, O-114, R.5 MS62 PCGS
* 1833 Half Dollar, O-115, High R.5 VF35 PCGS

This auction, along with auctions of rare world coins and rare currency, will post for bidding soon at Previews are available now!

David Lawrence Rare Coins Auctions to Offer the “Picky Collection” of Bust Coins

David Lawrence Rare Coin Auctions will be offering 94 coins from the “Picky Collection” in a special 2-week Internet Auction #461 closing March 11th.

This meticulous collection is the culmination of 25 years of numismatic searching. DLRC owner John Feigenbaum noted, “The Picky Collection is an AMAZING group of 90+ bust coins (mostly halves). We called it the “Picky Collection” as the collector was sooo fussy. It paid off as most of the coins CAC’d, giving it their seal of approval. If you love Bust coinage check this out.”

Feigenbaum continues..”Collectors are getting tired of hearing how there are now fresh coins out there…blah, blah, blah….But it’s really true. We haven’t seen anything like the regular flow of fresh coin collections coming from our clients in the last 18 months, like we had in years prior.

Many high-end quality pieces that are becoming harder and harder to find in the marketplace ! … John Feigenbaum

It’s hard to explain the phenomenon but collector’s are keeping the prized numismatic holding close to their chests. Prices have come down across the board in this time period, and I’m guessing folks don’t want to lose money on their collections. Sure, at a profit we’d see more sellers, and I think this fueled the activity in the late 1990’s.”

Bust Halves (71) make up the majority of the Picky Collection with an additional (6) Bust Dimes, (5) Bust Quarters, (5) Liberty Seated Half Dollars along with a few Early Gold pieces.

Each coin has its own unique look and charming characteristic as the owner was insistent upon in order to fit into his collection.