By Chris Bulfinch – Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
The Red Book lists only one doubled die variety for Franklin half dollars: the 1961 Proof DDR. Though there are three major DDR varieties known for the issue, only one, the FS-801, is truly notable.
Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to be offering the finest known example of this variety, certified Proof-67 with Cameo contrast by PCGS, in Lot 2024 of the Rarities Night session of our June 2023 Showcase Auction.
The featured coin is listed as FS-801 in the Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins. The Cherrypickers’ Guide describes the doubling:
“Very strong doubling is visible on all letters on the left side, especially E PLURIBUS UNUM and UNITED.”
It goes on to say:
“This coin… has everything going for it: the doubling is dramatic and naked-eye visible, it’s on a large coin, and the issue is a Proof.”
Such is the variety’s desirability and notability that it is featured prominently on the cover of the second volume of the Fifth Edition of this book. The Cherrypickers’ Guide lists two other DDR varieties of 1961 Proof Franklin half dollars, FS-802 and FS-803, neither of which features doubling as dramatic nor commands as high a premium as the FS-801.
On PCGS CoinFacts, Ron Guth states that the 1961 DDR is “one of the most dramatic, exciting, and valuable of all Franklin Half Dollars.”
PCGS reports 78 grading events for all 1961 DDR varieties, 30 of which are specifically identified as FS-801; four grading events are recorded for examples with Cameo contrast, one of which, the coin we’re offering, is in Proof-67 and is the finest known.
Our cataloger writes:
“The surfaces are platinum-white and sport outstanding field to device contrast of the kind rarely seen in examples of this Fivaz-Stanton number. Both sides are without flaws beneath a glass.”
This gorgeous coin will appeal to a variety of collectors, especially the Franklin half dollar specialist looking to put together a varieties-inclusive set of Proofs.
* * *
For more information on our June 2023 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo, or to consign your numismatic items to this or another of our upcoming auctions, call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].