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January 24, 2014

COIN OF THE WEEK

J-102 1839 HALF DOLLAR 50C PATTERN NGC PROOF 66 CAC
Click on Coin Image to enlarge


J-102 1839 HALF DOLLAR 50C PATTERN NGC PROOF 66 CAC - $42,750.00

Presenting J-102 1839 Half Dollar 50C Pattern NGC PF66 CAC. R7+. The J-102 1839 Half Dollar Pattern has a rarity 7 rating ( R7+) rarity rating, which means that only 4 to 6 1839 Half Dollar Pattern coins are thought to exist in all grades. In its population report, NGC shows only this specimen in Proof 66 condition. The finest PCGS has graded is a PR63. At CAC, as of November 2012, there is only the present coin with none better. Hence, this is the finest known at PCGS, and the Finest Known at CAC.

This rare, eye-appealing 1839 Premium Gem proof Liberty Seated half dollar (1839 Half Dollar Pattern) is the second finest known at NGC and the finest known at PCGS and CAC. The lustrous surfaces are toned with shades of tan, gold, blue, and chocolate brown, which attests to their originality. They are exceptionally clean with no hairlines visible without the aid of magnification. The CAC sticker fully confirms the grade and indicates that the coin is of premium quality. The reverse is struck from a defective die. Four heavy cracks are visible from the edge of the coin. One bisects the A in HALF and ends at the tail. A second passes through the U in UNITED and ends at the neck. A third passes to the right of the first A in AMERICA and passes over the right wing. The fourth splits the AR in DOLLAR and ends at the tail. There are also scuff marks at the top of the reverse, but these marks are on the holder not the coin.

Designed by Christian Gobrecht, the 1839 J-102 50 cent pattern was a restrike made from cracked, rusty dies. It was produced in the 1858 to 1870 period. Its 152 reeds suggest that it was made some time from 1861 to 1871. Since the various Mint employees who were responsible for clandestine restriking of coinage did not want their identities or activities known, it is impossible to precisely date the piece. The coin weighs 12.422 grams, or .94 grams less than the regular issue of 1839. Extensive die rust was reduced for this striking by die polishing. Tiny raised lines, visible only with magnification, are the result of this polishing.

The obverse shows the regular Seated Liberty, With Drapery motif, while the reverse uses the flying eagle that Gobrecht also used for his famous silver dollars. The obverse depicts Liberty seated looking over her shoulder to the left. She balances the Union Shield inscribed LIBERTY with her right hand and holds a staff on which is placed a Phrygian cap in her left. There are seven stars to the left and six to the right interrupted by her head and the capped pole. The date is below. The reverse uses the J-73 pattern die from 1838. It exhibits the same heavy die cracks seen on the current piece. The design shows the eagle flying left in a starless field. It is surrounded by the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with the denomination HALF DOLLAR below. Dentils are around the periphery of both sides of the coin.

Gobrecht was the third Chief Engraver at the United States Mint. He was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1785. His father was a German immigrant, and his mother traced her ancestry to the early settlers of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Gobrecht married Mary Hewes in 1818. One of his early positions was as an engraver of clocks in Baltimore. Later he went to Philadelphia where he became a banknote engraver. He invented a machine that allowed one to convert a three-dimensional medal into an illustration. This was an excellent job and Gobrecht was understandably reluctant to work for the Mint for less money than he was making at the engraving firm. In order to persuade him to leave, Mint Director Robert Patterson prevailed upon Chief Engraver William Kneass, who had had a stroke, to take less in salary so more money would be available to hire Gobrecht on a permanent basis. In 1826 Gobrecht did his first work for the Mint as an assistant to Kneass. After Kneass’ stroke, Gobrecht did all the die and pattern work for the Mint. He became Chief Engraver in 1840 and served until his death in 1844. He was famous for his Liberty Seated motif, which was used for all denominations of silver coinage including the half-dime, dime, quarter dollar, half dollar and silver dollar. He also designed the Liberty Head gold eagle, a motif that was also used on the half-cent, the cent, the gold quarter eagle, and the gold half eagle.

The J-102 1839 Half Dollar Pattern has a rarity 7 rating ( R7+) rarity rating, which means that only 4 to 6 1839 Half Dollar Pattern coins are thought to exist in all grades. In its population report, NGC shows only this specimen in Proof 66 condition. The finest PCGS has graded is a PR63. At CAC, as of November 2012, there is only the present coin with none better. Hence, this is the finest known at PCGS, and the Finest Known at CAC.

 

Very Truly Yours,

Tom Pilitowski
www.usrarecoininvestments.com
Toll Free:
1-800-624-1870
Email: TomPilitowski@yahoo.com

 


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