By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
As the young American economy began to flourish in the early 19th century, deposits of silver bullion at the United States Mint increased. The hiatus of the silver dollar beginning in 1804 meant that the half dollar was the largest silver denomination available, and it was embraced as the backbone to commerce for the three decades to follow. From a start of just 750,000 Capped Bust half dollars struck in 1807, mintages quickly rose into seven figures. By 1825, mintages had twice surpassed two million and nearly three million would be struck for 1825. Even so, the vast majority of these pieces were placed into circulation, saw heavy use, and were melted over the following century.
Stack’s Bowers Galleries is thrilled to offer an important 1825 half dollar in lot 4098 of our March 2021 Las Vegas Auction. Graded MS-67 (NGC) OH, it is the sole finest example of the O-104 dies and remains unsurpassed even across all varieties. Seldom does a half dollar of this era offer such a combination of Superb Gem quality and exceptional toning. The obverse is toned sapphire-blue, with just a trace of lighter rose in the field and on Liberty’s neck. The reverse displays soft mint luster, with deep blue-violet toning at the rims and russet at the center. Careful inspection reveals fundamentally flawless surfaces and exceptional striking detail. A visually stunning example.
This 1825 half dollar has a provenance that stretches back over a century to S.H. Chapman’s sale of the David S. Wilson Collection of March 1907. Offered in lot 506, it was described succinctly as “Uncirculated. Sharp. Mint Lustre.” and sold for $1. While this price seems underwhelming today, it was nearly double the $0.60 and $0.65 earned by “Uncirculated” examples from 1835 and 1836 in the following lots. We first had the privilege of handling this coin in our January 2005 sale where it was recognized as “very likely…the finest known.” Over 15 years later, this sentiment remains true. Within the O-104 variety, it is the sole finest listed by Herrman in his Autumn 2020 census. Additionally, it is tied for finest known across all 1825 varieties with just a handful of others including the MS-67 (NGC) Eliasberg specimen. This spectacular coin would be a crown jewel in any cabinet.
The finest known O-104 1825 half dollar from the Iron Eagle Collection will be offered in lot 4098 of our March 2021 Las Vegas Auction. This is one of many important collections featured in the sale, including selections from the D. Brent Pogue Collection, the Collection of Silas Stanley Roberts, and the Washington Rainbows Collection. The sale will be available for viewing and bidding on our website www.StacksBowers.com and printed catalogs will be available for purchase.
If you would like to consign to an upcoming sale or have questions about the consignment process, please contact us today at Consign@StacksBowers.com or 800-566-2580.