1794 50C PCGS AU58 O-106 (CAC) Ex Chicago Bust Half Collection-Ex Laura Sperber


From Legend Auctions recent sale of the Chicago Collection. It realized $199,750.00. Here is the description:

What an amazing way to start off this spectacular collection! This is the FINEST KNOWN O-106, a very scarce variety, listed as Rarity-6 in the 5th Edition of the Overton reference.

An incredibly struck early die state. Both obverse and reverse are remarkably crisp with bold definition to the devices. The only area of weakness is on the eagle’s beast and neck; all other “problem areas” including the hair curls, Liberty’s eye, leaf details and eagle’s head are fully visible and sharply impressed. This coin has just the faintest touch of wear from a very brief stay in early federal circulation. No serious marks, lines, or flaws from its time in commercial channels, or mishandling by subsequent owners can be seen, even using a strong glass. Indeed, the pedigree markers for this “GEM” AU are the radial planchet adjustment marks, which are common on these first year half dollars. Clearly when the planchet was prepared it was above statutory weight of 13.48 grams, and had to be filed down into the tolerance range. An underlying satiny frost comes out when rotated in a light, amplifying the antique patina, which ranges from pale blue at the periphery then blending to a pewter and golden blend. Very few 1794 half dollars of any die marriage can come close to this coin’s great look.

O-106 is a marriage of Obverse die 3 and Reverse die A, showing star 2 attached to the lowest hair curl and the reverse has the berry configuration at 10 to the left and 11 to the right, the only die to have this. The reverse die was a workhorse, used to strike O-101, O-106, O-107, and O-108.

While the April 1792 “Coinage Act” established the coinage system and the U.S. Mint, production of coins for circulation did not begin until 1793 with the striking of half cents and cents. Due to the statutory requirements for mint officials to secure surety bonds before gold and silver coinage could commence, no silver coins were struck until 1794, and no gold was struck until 1795. In all, 11 die pairs are described by Donald Parsley in the Overton reference, used to strike 23,464 half dollars.

This very high end AU58 has an extensive pedigree, ex. Clarke E. Gilhousen Collection, Superior, October 1973, lot 863; Charles L. Ruby Collection, Superior, February 1975, lot 649; L.W. Hoffecker Collection, Superior, February 1987, lot 3120; Worrell Collection, Superior, September 1993, lot 1260; Stack’s March 2007 Auction, lot 754; Heritage’s August 2007, lot 1675; Bowers & Merena’s August 2010 auction, lot 508; Laura Sperber (personal collection); Charles Link; purchased by our consignor from Mr. Link in December 2016. Said to be ex Henry Chapman’s June 1912 sale of the George H. Earle, Jr. Collection, but does not seem to match the plate photo.

PCGS 3, NGC 2, CAC 3. Only the Simpson MS64 is beaned higher. This coin has not appeared in auction in over a decade, the last time selling for $175,000 in August 2010. More recently the Eliasberg O-105 sold for $192,000 in August 2018. The current Collectors Universe value is listed at $200,000 and the CAC CPG value is listed at $241,500. It is important to note that the 1794 half dollar, in Mint State, is rarer than its silver dollar counterpart, with just three graded Mint State at PCGS (the finest being the Boyd-Hayes-Richard-Noblet-Pogue-Simpson MS64+ O-101a). It needs to be said that if LAURA SPERBER selected this coin for her personal collection, it is VERY HIGH END and worthy of any WORLD CLASS cabinet!

We LOVE this coin! Once its sold, good luck finding anything similar!


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