By James McCartney – Numismatist & Cataloger, Stack’s Bowers ……
The Sutton Court Collection of Early Bust Half Dollar Varieties is one of the most exciting cabinets of bust half dollar that we have handled in recent years. Assembled by Overton number with a focus on the Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle type, specialists will delight at the array of Rarity-5 and Rarity-6 examples, including many Condition Census and finest known specimens. The Sutton Court Collection was formed in the 1980s through auction purchases and direct acquisitions from Stack’s and other respected firms, and the treasures of this collection have been off the market for over three decades.
Among the newly uncovered treasures to be featured in our March 2018 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo is an incredible 1805 O-112 half dollar that ranks as finest known for the variety and sits high in the condition census for the overall issue. Pinkish and golden iridescence dusts the surfaces and complements satiny luster that is particularly radiant on the reverse. The strike is exceptional, exhibiting strong delineation to all shield lines and eagle feathers. Diagnostic clash marks and die cracks remain sharp and clear at the borders and around Liberty’s bust, allowing convenient attribution.
The present piece has long been recognized as a superior specimen. It was previously in the cabinet of famed collector T. James Clarke, who called it “Unc-Gem / Finest Known”, and whose signature brown coin box with notations remains paired with the coin today. Upon his death, the Clarke estate was consigned by Clarke’s widow to New Netherlands Coin Company’s (Charles Wormser and John J. Ford, Jr) 47th Sale of April 1956, where it was cataloged more conservatively as “Just about Unc”. It was later acquired by the Sutton Court collector privately from Stack’s in November of 1984, and it has remained in this Bust Half Dollar cabinet for nearly 35 years.
Only recently certified for the first time, this MS-62 (PCGS) piece is the finest known example from the Overton 112 dies Bust Half Dollar, and just the Newman O-108 ranks finer among the overall 1805 issue (normal date) at PCGS. The closest rival to the present piece is the MS-61 (NGC) O-112 R.L. Miles specimen, which has also been tucked away as part of the Sutton Court Collection for the past quarter century and will also be offered in our March sale.
The MS-62 (PCGS) Clarke and the MS-61 (NGC) Miles specimens of the 1805 O-112 dies will accompany many other significant Bust Half Dollar rarities in our March 2018 Baltimore auction. These include a MS-62 (PCGS) 1795 O-116; the AU-58 (NGC) 1795 O-126 Small Head Beistle plate coin, ex Green-Johnson-Boyd; a scarce 1801 O-102 in AU-58+ (NGC), and handsome examples of the 1806 O-110 and O-124 E/A in States varieties, each considered to be Rarity-6. The emergence of the Sutton Court Collection represents a significant opportunity for early half dollar enthusiasts, so contact us for more information about this exciting collection. Call 1-800-458-4646 or email Info@StacksBowers.com to speak with a representative today. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our exciting auctions via your Android or Apple device.