Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 84

January 25-28, 2015 Pre Long Beach

Draped Bust Half Dimes
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 1141
  1797. Sharpness of Fair-2. Marks and well worn. A space filler.
Estimated Value $500 - 550.
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Lot 1142
1797. 15 stars. V-2, LM-1, Rarity 3. NGC graded MS-66. The 15 Stars was the first of three types to be produced in 1797; next came the 16 Stars, and last was to the 13 Stars variant. The 15 Stars variety features 8 stars left and 7 stars right with two inner berries and one outer berry on the reverse wreath. This represents the most plentiful die marriage of the 1797 half dime. That is fortunate as this example represents one of the finest known for the die pairing, and it is also high in the Condition Census for the issue as a whole. A satiny, silky-smooth coin, both sides are virtually devoid of abrasions and other grade-limiting blemishes. The strike is typical of the die marriage, the centers quite blunt but the detail sharpening considerably toward the rims. The obverse is ringed in deep brick-red peripheral toning, the reverse is more evenly patinated in similar but lighter toning.
We know of few other 1797 15 Stars half dimes that are as technically sound as this coin. The Census data for this lot bears some explanation. There are three other MS-66 specimens graded as such at NGC; two LM-1, 1 LM-2, and one not designated making it impossible to determine if that coin is also an example of the LM-1 die marriage. Regardless, this one ranks near the top of the Condition Census and should be carefully considered by the enterprising numismatist. Pop 4; none finer at NGC.
Estimated Value $80,000 - 90,000.
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Lot 1143
1797. 15 Stars, V-2, LM-1, Rarity 3. PCGS graded EF-45 PQ. CAC Approved. From a mintage of 44,527 pieces, a figure that includes the 13 Stars and 16 Stars varieties of the date as well. Three die pairings were used, one for each stars variety. Steel gray toning overall with contrasting charcoal accents in selected recesses of the design. One tiny mark is mentioned from Liberty's forehead to the base of the Y of LIBERTY. Struck from clashed dies, as usual, the evidence plainest on the reverse. Choice for the grade both physically and aesthetically, and almost certain to find its way to a world-class cabinet of early U.S. coins. Pop 13; 46 finer (PCGS # 4258) .
Estimated Value $6,500 - 7,000.
Ex: The Agora Collection.

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Lot 1144
1800. "LIBEKTY" Error. V-2, LM-3, Rarity 4. NGC graded Fine Details, Damaged, Bent. Listed for years in the Guide Book as a separate issue of 1800 and highly collectible as such by both date, variety and major type collectors as well. The flan is slightly bent and a number of small indentations are seen on each side. Steel-gray color with charcoal accents in certain recesses.
Estimated Value $750 - 800.
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Lot 1145
1802. Logan-McCloskey-1, Rarity 5. NGC graded AU-50. The only known die pairing. Mint reports indicate 3,060 half dimes were minted. The 1 in the date is free from the curl but close, and the 8 is the largest of the four digits, that being made by overlapping two small zeros. The 0 is oval rather than round, and the top of the 2 is tilted to the left and grazes the lower drapery. On the reverse, the base of the M in AMERICA is slightly higher than A. A leaf tip is centered under the I of AMERICA, and a leaf joins the base of the C. The die line seen here under the B in LIBERTY and extending to the hair below E is normally seen on all high-grade examples we have examined. The reverse shows a noticeable rim cud beginning to form above the E in UNITED, extending downward to touch the top of that letter.

Some researchers feel the original mintage figure of 3,060 pieces is suspect, likely much lower as the number of survivors mathematically does not compute with similar half dimes of this era. NGC opines that perhaps three dozen examples exist in all grades. Noted expert David J. Davis listed all of the auction and fixed price appearances of 1802 half dimes in the reference work Federal Half Dimes 1792 - 1837 by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey. What is known today is that of the meager number of survivors, about half are certified and reasonably wholesome, the other half are coins with varying degrees of problems.

This piece is deeply toned in shades of cobalt-blue, rose, gold and argent-gray. The striking details are slightly uneven; this apparently is normal for the date, as evidenced by the other higher grade examples we have examined. On the obverse, the stars on the left are weak as are the lowest hair curls. On the reverse, stars 2, 3, and 8 are nonexistent. Otherwise, the hair curls on Liberty are well-defined, as are the feathers on the wings of the eagle. The profile of Liberty is noticeably doubled (most visible on the right side of her profile) and there are several shallow pinscratches in the right obverse field under stars 8 and 9, and an oval-shaped planchet void on Liberty's breast. A shallow scratch runs diagonally across the shield at the center of the reverse.

The 1802 half dime is unknown in Mint State and, given the importance of condition to this issue, a list of the grades of all certified examples follows:
NGC - Shows only two submissions, both in AU-50. PCGS - One each in AG-3, Good-6, Very Good-8, Very Good-10, VF-30, VF-35, XF-40, XF-45, AU-50 and two in AU-55. Duplications are certainly probable as the AU-50 has been reholdered to an NGC AU-50 (above).

The rarity of the 1802 half dime is legendary. Few collectors ever have the opportunity to acquire one due to high cost and the fact they are so infrequently offered. The present coin, with its incredible pedigree, will be a showpiece in the cabinet of its next owner (PCGS # 4268) .
Estimated Value $275,000 - 300,000.
W. Elliot Woodward Sale (10/1884); James B. Wilson Collection (Thomas Elder, 10/1908); H.O. Granberg Collection; William Cutler Atwater (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1126; unknown dealer intermediaries in the late 1940s; anonymous New Jersey collector until 1991; 1998 FUN Sale (Heritage, 1/1998), lot 6631; Philadelphia 2000 Sale (Heritage, 8/2000), lot 6815; Long Beach Signature Sale (Heritage (6/2001), lot 7960; 2011 Chicago ANA Sale (Heritage 8/2011), lot 7065.

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