1815/2 50C MS (PCGS# 6108)

2012 August 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Philadelphia #1173

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
  • Lot Number:
    5143
  • Grade:
    MS66+
  • Price:
    $182,125.00
Lot Description
1815/2 50C MS66+ NGC. O-101, R.2. Ex: Kaufman. Numismatists and collectors who seek a complete date collection must acquire an 1815 half dollar. Similarly, die variety specialists require an example, and those who seek die states must have two different pieces. Many design type collectors have the formation of a complete type set of key-date coins as their goal, and the 1815 half dollar is the best candidate. Finally, a growing trend is the acquisition of "trophy coins," those pieces that combine rarity, quality, and exceptional aesthetic appeal, and this Premium Gem 1815 half dollar combines all of those factors. Demand for a specimen such as this rarity has never been higher. A single die variety is known for the 1815/2 half dollars, in two distinct die states. The overdate feature is particularly visible at the top of the 5. The obverse has a faint die crack from the curl below the ear, onto the neck. While clash marks are especially visible on the reverse, there is no trace of the reverse die cracks found on later die states. A young nation, barely four decades old, was undergoing great stress and turmoil in 1815. The War of 1812 was still being waged, and the British capture and burning of Washington, D.C. in August 1814 caused extreme unrest and monetary upheaval. The result of these difficulties was hoarding of hard assets, including gold and silver coins, much as citizens did half a half century later during the Civil War. Paper money, even with gold and silver backing, was refused, and commerce was driven strictly by gold and silver. Due to these circumstances, little or no gold and silver was deposited at the Mint, and their supply of copper for cents was exhausted. Mint operations in Philadelphia nearly came to a stand still, and for much of the year, the facility was completely silent. The first coinage for the year had to wait until November. Only quarter dollars, half dollars, and half eagles were coined during the year. There was apparently also produ
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