Numismatic Americana is proud to announce the acquisition of the unique 1836 Capped Bust Half Dollar, overdate variety. Hailing from the celebrated Eliasberg collection, lot 1903, that was sold in April, 1997 through Auctions by Bowers and Merena, Inc. Mr. Eliasberg holds a special place in numismatics as the only person to have assembled a complete set of United States coinage known during their lifetime; a feat not likely to be accomplished anytime soon as many of the unique, or near unique, specimens have found new homes in strong collections or institutions.
This near GEM has outstanding eye-appeal that showcases the razor sharp strike, superb cameo contrast, and just a hint of toning on both the obverse and reverse alike. Deeply mirrored fields, combined with the aforementioned strike, dispel any doubt of this coin’s proof status; this isn’t one of those ambiguous proofs that sometimes plague the market. If fact if this coin were a Seated Liberty or Barber half dollar no one would question the proof method of manufacture. It is that strong of a coin.
The fact that this coin is unique, as in this is the only piece of this variety seen or graded (in any grade) by either of the major grading services in over twenty-five years, only adds to its mystique. Struck during the inaugural year of the steam coinage press, one must question why this piece was made. Was it produced for presentation to a dignitary before the “Reeded Edge” half dollars were available? Was it part of a set struck in 1836 that included both types, lettered and reeded edge, of these? We will probably never know the reason for its existence, but there is always the possibility of further information coming to light explaining its being.
As I mentioned this piece is unique today. Breen states that there are “several known”, but not seen, and non of the supposedly existing others have been graded by either PCGS or NGC. Where are they? By comparison there are 15 specimens of the “Reeded Edge” showing up on the PCGS and NGC population reports, although surely some of these are duplicates from resubmission. Even with these figures it is safe to say that this is at least 10 times rarer than the “Reeded Edge” variety, a coin that routinely sells for $35,000 to $80,000.
This is a unique opportunity for a unique coin. No collection of Capped Bust Half Dollars in Proof can be complete without this piece. A truly “Historically Important Numismatic Property” worthy of any coin cabinet. Perhaps yours…