1897-S 50C MS (PCGS# 6479)

2009 CSNS PN

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1897-S 50C MS66 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Duckor/Akers. Both the New Orleans and San Francisco Barber halves of 1897 saw mintages under 1 million coins each, an easy and memorable cutoff point for many of the low-mintage issues of the era in various series. While the 1897-O half dollars were manufactured to the extent of 632,000 coins, the 1897-S emission was about 50% larger, at 933,900 pieces. Nonetheless, both issues are considered among the well-known keys to the Barber half collection today. The coins were made only four years after Augustus B. Heaton published his celebrated treatise on Mint Marks, a chef-d'oeuvre that would forever alter the landscape of American coin collecting. However, it was another couple of decades before collecting coins by mintmark gained a serious foothold in America, and so it is that the few 1897-S Barber halves that exist today in high grade mostly were saved by fate rather than foresight. At the near-Gem level PCGS has certified about equal numbers of the two issues, but the 1897-S is rarer at the MS65 level, with only eight examples (or occurrences) graded versus 14 for the 1897-O. In MS66 PCGS shows three 1897-Os, with two in MS67 and one in MS68. For the 1897-S, there are two pieces in MS66, with four in MS67 and none finer. The present MS66 example boasts splendid, highly lustrous surfaces that are evenly silver-gold on both sides, with a couple of small areas of deeper color. The radiant luster contributes significantly to this coin's high eye appeal. Fortunately, the 1897-S half dollars are generally better struck than the 1897-O coins. In this case, that translates to complete separation of the hair all along the forehead and good articulation throughout the details of Liberty and the peripheral stars on the obverse. On the reverse, only minor softness typical for the type is noted at the upper right shield corner and nearby wing. A couple of insignificant contact marks on Liberty's cheek and neck all perhaps all that keep this piece
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