1897-S 50C MS (PCGS# 6479)


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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 series today. These 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. The present MS66 example boasts splendid, highly lustrous surfaces that are 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 are perhaps all that keep this piece from the Superb Gem level, but it appears close. Population: 2 in 66, 4 finer (6/09).
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