1806 Bust Half Dollar By James McCartney, Numismatist – Stack’s Bowers ……
The magnificent MS-64 (PCGS) 1806 bust half dollar in lot 1150 of Stack’s Bowers August 2018 ANA Auction is an extraordinary Heraldic Eagle Draped Bust half dollar. However, with the added considerations of die variety and die state, this piece becomes a monumental rarity.
This marriage represents the fourth use of this obverse die, having been earlier used in the O-124, O-128, and O-130 pairings. Signs of refinishing are apparent in the recesses of Liberty’s hair, and the overall sharpness remains superb. The strike on the reverse exceeds that of any other example from these dies, with full pronouncement to the stars, the eagle’s head, and the ribbon, which are typically soft or non existent. Evidence of striking through debris, likely grease, is seen near the right border, though this goes largely unnoticed to the naked eye. Just the smallest, trivial ticks are visible under magnification, leaving the eye appeal undisturbed and truly astonishing.
This early die state is notably scarcer than the later, cracked state (O-123, R-5-) with an arcing break from TED through STATES. The PCGS holder does not indicate that this is the prime die state (O-123′, R-6), though the dies are without cracks and virtually perfect. As a new entrant to the Condition Censuses of both the overall die marriage and the die state, this piece redefines the finest known in both cases. When compared against the scant population of prime examples it easily ranks above all known pieces as the only Mint State specimen and far outweighing the sole AU-58 (PCGS) that is in second place. Beneath that there is the AU Details–Cleaned (NGC) coin from our March 2018 sale of the Sutton Court Collection and the population then falls to the EF level, with the Jules Reiver coin (VF-25 NGC) at the lower end. Among examples of the overall die marriage it is tied for finest known alongside the MS-64 (NGC) Newman specimen.
This jewel is being offered at public auction now for the first time in at least four decades, having been handled by Chicago dealer Ed Milas in the 1970s and traded privately since. Advanced specialists in the early half dollar series will pay close attention to this irresistible near-Gem.
With a faint splash of golden peach iridescence accents the centers of each side, framed by deeper shades of bronze and sapphire at the borders. It is dramatically prooflike, courtesy of reflective and mirrored fields that surround the more satiny design elements.
This important MS-64 (PCGS) 1806 O-123′ half dollar will be presented as lot 1150 in the Rarities Night session of our August 2018 ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction. It will be sold alongside such incredible rarities as the finest known 1913 Liberty Head nickel (Proof-66 PCGS CAC) and a Gem 1895-O Morgan dollar (MS-66 PCGS).
The sale will be available for viewing and bidding on our website www.StacksBowers.com, or you may contact our offices to secure a printed catalog. To speak with a numismatic representative, please call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected]. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.