Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 81

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Lot 881

1837. NGC graded MS-65. A hint of gold tone around the edges. Frosty, mostly untoned and well struck. Fabulous quality and overall surfaces. The coin has blazing white mint luster and is virtually abrasion-free. At best, it is not easy to find such luster. So too crisp definition on the main devices counts for a lot. Mathematically exact standards are seen in the sharp devices.

Of the two-year Half Dollars struck on the Mint's new steam operated press, the 1836-37 FIFTY CENTS issue has a much more modern look than its 1807-36 predecessor. The first-year 1836 is rare and expensive; the second year 1837 the more readily obtainable of the four issues in the short-lived Reeded Edge Half Dollar series of 1836-39 in which the denomination is expressed as first FIFTY CENTS and then HALF DOL. along the lower-reverse border. This 1837 is still a scarce issue in an absolute sense, however, and Mint State 65 survivors are downright rare from the standpoint of market availability. A grossly underrated issue in high grades.

The introduction of a steam coinage press in the Philadelphia Mint in 1836 occasioned a replacement for the venerable lettered edge, Capped Bust Half Dollar. Assistant Engraver Christian Gobrecht reworked the design to include a sharper, more refined appearance to Liberty's portraiture on the obverse and a new reverse eagle. He also removed the scroll that used to reside in the upper-reverse field and upon which the Latin motto E PLURIBUS UNUM was inscribed.

The steam press allowed the U.S. Mint to start using a "close collar" to produce coins of this denomination as opposed to the older "open collar," and some of Gobrecht's modifications to the Capped Bust Half Dollar were also made to accommodate this innovative piece of equipment. Most significant in this regard are a beaded border and a pronounced raised rim. Since the lettering that appears on the edges of Capped Bust Halves from 1807-1836 was imparted prior to striking, and the close collar exerted tremendous pressure when the coins were struck, edge lettering could no longer be used. Instead, Half Dollars came out of the press with a reeded edge. The modified Capped Bust examples of 1836-1839 are usually referred to as the Reeded Edge type for this reason. Pop 41; 16 finer at NGC.
Estimated Value $12,000 - 13,000.


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