Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 81

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Lot 880

1833. NGC graded MS-65. Frosty and mostly untoned. A satiny white gem with strong underlying luster. Well struck with full stars except for three that come a little rounded; devices are satisfyingly close enough to full that mention is merited. We have seen many instances of the 1833 where E PLURIBUS on the ribbon is flat to nonexistent due to its location opposite Liberty's ample breasts on the obverse. The motto simply could not compete. Indeed, the strike of the present coin easily rivals that of the higher numerical grade coins graded by the two main services.

Upon his appointment to the position of chief engraver in 1824, William Kneass was initially tasked with refining the coinage designs then in use by the United States Mint. In 1832, he put his hand to John Reich's Capped Bust Half Dollar. Examples differ from earlier-dated pieces chiefly in the fine points of Liberty's bust. Thanks to Kneass' work, extant 1832 Halves display the bust in higher relief, finer hair curls, a more rounded cheek and a slightly altered profile.

Throughout virtually its entire production run, the Capped Bust Half Dollar with Lettered Edge (1807-36) was the largest silver coin being struck in the United States. It should come as no surprise to read, therefore, that this was the preferred denomination of contemporary banks and other bullion depositors. Most issues in this series have respectable mintages, and survivors can be found in circulated to lower Mint State grades without ease. Examples that grade higher than MS63 are, however, scarce-to-rare from a standpoint of market availability.

The relatively high mintage posted for most Lettered Edge Capped Bust Halves required a sizeable number of working dies. As such, this series is perhaps the most widely pursued in all of U.S. numismatics where variety specialists are concerned. Many 1833 die marriages are plentiful in an absolute sense, but some are significant, highly respected rarities.

This type was designed originally by John Reich (born Johann Matthaus Reich), a German who sold himself into indentured servitude in the United States to escape the ravages of the Napoleonic Wars. Reich first come to prominence as an engraver in 1801, but opposition from then-Chief Engraver Robert Scot delayed his appointment as Assistant Engraver until 1807. The Capped Bust, Lettered Edge Half Dollar is widely regarded as Reich's most instantly recognizable and enduring contribution to the U.S. coinage family. Pop 28; 9 finer, 1 in 65 Star, 5 in 66, 2 in 67, 1 in 68.
Estimated Value $7,500 - 8,000.


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