1838 50C J-79a PR (PCGS# 11328)
The August 2010 Boston Rarities Sale
Auctioneer: Bowers & Merena
Lot Number: 1378
View the Original Auction
1838 Pattern Seated Liberty Half Dollar. Judd-79a, Pollock-86. Rarity-7-. Proof-66 (PCGS). The obverse design is very similar to that employed by the Mint to strike regular issue 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dollars of the No Drapery type. There are some minor differences, however, including the shape of the rock upon which Liberty is seated, the spacing between the stripes in the shield, the spacing between the stars and the arrangement of the folds in Liberty's gown. The letters in the word LIBERTY are incuse on the scroll that crosses the shield. On the reverse an eagle flies to the left in an open field with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around the border and the denomination HALF DOL below. Struck in silver with a reeded edge and medalic alignment of the dies.<br /> Patterns of this type, of which no more than 12 or so specimens are believed to exist, represent the only known original strikings from this obverse die. This conclusion is attributed to the website uspatterns.com, where it is also stated that no examples of Judd-79a are known to have been struck on lightweight planchets as introduced by the Mint Act of February 21, 1853.<br /> A delightful Gem with awesome originality and exquisite eye appeal, this piece is high in the Condition Census for the type. On the obverse we see blended highlights of cobalt-blue and rose-apricot iridescence that enliven a base of warmer lavender-copper patina. The reverse is overall lighter and a bit more vivid with cobalt-blue rim highlights around a reddish-apricot center. The strike is sharp throughout to include the central-reverse highpoint, and a bright, uniformly mirrored finish is easily seen despite the depth of toning. A beautiful, conditionally rare Gem that would serve as a highlight in the finest cabinet.