1836 50C 50/00, Lettered Edge PR (PCGS# 6228)

The March 2011 Baltimore Auction

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Lot Description
1836 Capped Bust Half Dollar. Lettered Edge. O-116. Rarity-7 (as a proof). 50/00. Proof-64 (PCGS). CAC. Writing in the 1989 edition of his encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial proof coins, the late Walter Breen accounts for four die marriages of the proof 1836 Lettered Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar. Of the four varieties, two are of perhaps the greatest interest to advanced Bust Half Dollar enthusiasts: the 1836/1336 O-108, a&nbsp;proof example of which is also being highlighted in this sale; and the 50/00 O-116 blundered reverse, a proof example of which is being offered in this lot.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;All proof 1836 Lettered Edge Half Dollars are rare coins regardless of individual die marriage. This is in keeping with the rarity of pre-1858 United States Mint proof coins as a group, such pieces having been produced in very limited numbers, mostly for presentation or similar special purposes. In the specific case of the proof 1836 Lettered Edge Half, a small number of coins appear to have been requested at various different times during the year, explaining the existence of several different die marriages. Obviously Mint employees, when tasked with striking a few proof Half Dollars of this date, simply grabbed whatever dies came most readily to hand, prepared them for proof coinage and delivered the small number of specimens requested.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Our research indicates that there are no more than 15-20 proof 1836 Lettered Edge Half Dollars extant of all die marriages. The proof O-116 50/00 variety being showcased in this lot is an important rarity with only six specimens positively known to exist:<br /> <br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;1. NGC Proof-67: Ex: The George H. Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2957; John H. Clapp; Clapp estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997)
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