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1834 O.106 (Rarity-8 as Proof). Large Date, Small Letters

From Stack's October 2006 New York Auction, Session 1 on Oct 17, 2006

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Categories  •  Stack's October 2006 New York The George Byers Collection of U. S. Half Dollars, 1795-1964 United States Half Dollars United States Capped Bust, Lettered Edge Half Dollars

1834 O.106 (Rarity-8 as Proof). Large Date, Small Letters.  Choice Brilliant Proof.  Toned with dark...1834 O.106 (Rarity-8 as Proof). Large Date, Small Letters. Choice Brilliant Proof. Toned with dark gun metal gray over the fields, with the frosted devices showing traces of russet and yellow. Exceptionally sharp on Liberty, with her curls and profile raised higher than usually encountered, but most of the stars lack their center radials. The reverse is generally sharp too, with minor softness found on the rounded feather ends of the left wing near the shield. For identification there is a sharp short scratch from the lower left serif of 'E' of UNITED to the ribbon below. On the obverse there is a small planchet pit well to the left of Liberty's chin in the field, close to the stars. The fields are fully mirrored with a couple of exceptions where the frosty texture slipped beyond the devices, one below Liberty's chin, the other on the reverse below the eagle's head and also below the left wing. As seen on several other Proofs in this collection, many have matching frost in the same areas instead of mirror reflectivity.

This die pairing may be unique in this condition, although the Eliasberg example was noted to be ''Prooflike. With many attributes resembling a Proof, and called that by some observers.'' Further research would be welcome on these early Proofs and Specimen Strikes as the existing resources have grown out of date, and many coins long hidden for generations have been available for study thanks to the Norweb, Eliasberg and Pittman sales, each of which contained a number of these early Proofs. Between Breen's Proof Encyclopedia and Herrman's AMBPR it appears Proof half dollars are known of the following varieties, O.101, O.103, O.104, O.106, O.114 and O.122 (Restrikes with Crushed Lettered Edges). It appears that all five varieties of original Proofs issued are each unique in the Proof format, with the O.122 Restrikes represented by five different specimens. An extraordinary year for Proofs, to say the least. NGC PR63.

The following is a listing which could be assembled of the complex Proofs known of this date:

1) 1834 O.101. B. Max Mehl's Sale, December 1939; Floyd Starr (Stack's, October 1992, lot 541).

2) 1834 O.103. King of Siam Set.

3) 1834 O.104. The Norweb Coin (Bowers and Merena, November 1988, lot 3107).

4) 1834 O.106.
The Present Example. Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, October 1989, lot 831); Remick Collection (Stack's, September 1997, lot 829); Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, January 2000, lot 169).

5) 1834 O.114. Chicago ANA Sale (Bowers and Merena, August 1991, lot 2268).

6-10) 1834 O.122 Restrikes with Crushed Lettered Edges. Five known, one impounded in the Smithsonian. See following lot in this sale for pedigree details.


Lot # 1084 Session 1
Hammer Price: $20,000.00

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