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1843 Very Choice Brilliant Proof

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 Seated Liberty, no Motto Half Dollars
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1843 Very Choice Brilliant Proof, with claims to Gem. The toning is rather deep and iridescent on this rare coin, and the surfaces are of excellent quality. Colors range from blue and russet, with tinges of green intermixed, with the toning irregular on the obverse, more organized on the reverse. Magnification will discover trace hairlines in the right obverse field. The striking quality is magnificent, with the stars, curls on Liberty and feather details as boldly struck as one could imagine. All Proof 1843 Half Dollars were struck with a cracked reverse die, bisecting the reverse between 'ES' of STATES and 'LF' of HALF, with the die crack thicker at the top of the reverse, thinner at the bottom. Most of the vertical shield lines extend above and below their borders.

This reverse die was only used to coin the handful of Proofs and apparently discarded because of the die crack, as no circulation strikes have been found from this die pair. All known Proofs of 1843 display this die crack, so the die may have split during the annealing process or while coining the very first Proof coin. Several other 1843 Half Dollar circulation strikes are known that display a complex network of die cracks, as perhaps some of the die steel was improperly forged and prone to rapid deterioration and cracking that year. Few Proofs of any denomination boast such a dramatic die crack. Clearly the coiner choose the expedient path over replacing the cracked die with another highly polished and properly prepared reverse die, as the Proof coin order was undoubtedly tiny.

Other diagnostics include a couple of horizontal die file lines from the rim pointing to the lower third of the '1', die roughness and polish lines connecting the base on which Liberty sits to both rims on the left and right, a tiny staple shaped lintmark midway in the small field left of the date and extensive die file marks within Liberty's skirt lines above and to the right of the 'Y' of LIBERTY. Reverse diagnostics include all vertical shield lines extending at least to the second crossbar above, many to the third or even fifth. 'AL' of HALF connected at base by a die chip. NGC PR64.

The following is a listing of the known examples of Proof 1843 Half Dollars:

The Present Specimen. Ex: Superior's Auction, January 2005, lot 385; John Jay Pittman Collection Part II (David Akers, May 1998, lot 1527); Numismatic Gallery privately June 1947.

2) Amon Carter Collection (Stack's, January 1984, lot 630); Will W. Neil Collection (B. Max Mehl, June 1947); Fernand David Collection.

3) Part of an 1843 Proof Set; Texas Dealer; John J. Pittman Collection Part I, lot 832; Judge Joseph F. Sawicki.

4) Paramount's Rare Coin List #15, 1977; The 1975 ANA Sale (Superior, August 1975, lot 817); Adolph Friedman; Col. E.H.R. Green.

5) C.A. Cass ''Empire Collection'' (Stack's, November 1957, lot 1361); R. T. McPherson Collection (Stack's, February 1953, lot 924); Dr. C.A. Allenburger, (B. Max Mehl, March 1948, lot 1103).

6) Smithsonian Institution.

Lot # 1126 Session 1
Hammer Price: $19,000.00

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