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SERIES: (None)
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1839-O 50C, BM (Special Strike)

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PR64 estimated grade
Image courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

PCGS SP61BM
PCGS #:
6253
Diameter:
30.00 millimeters
Designer:
Christian Gobrecht
Weight:
13.36 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
Metal Content:
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$373,750 • NGC PR65 • 2-13-2008 • Ira & Larry Goldberg
 
Condition Census (Explain)
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR64 estimated grade  

Ellis Robison Collection - Stack's 2/1982:1607 - Queller Family Collection - Stack's 10/2002:448 - private collection - Goldbergs 2/2008:2177, $373,750 - Heritage 2/2012:3633, $299,000

2 PR63 estimated grade  

Heritage 7/2008:1690, $195,500 - Greensboro Collection - Heritage 1/2013:5645, $123,375

3 PR62 PCGS grade  

Stack's/Bowers 8/2015:10108, $105,750

3 PR62 estimated grade  

Krouner Collection - Lester Merkin 2/1971:736 - Stack's 9/1992:358 - George Byers Collection - Stack's 10/2006:1098 - Heritage 9/2008:2164, $149,500 - Bay State Collection - Heritage 7/2009:1119, $80,500. The Breen Proof Encyclopedia Plate Coin

5 PR60 estimated grade  

Heritage 9/2008:2163, $63,250 - Joseph C. Thomas Collection - Heritage 4/2009:2462, $40,250

Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR64 estimated grade  

Ellis Robison Collection - Stack's 2/1982:1607 - Queller Family Collection - Stack's 10/2002:448 - private collection - Goldbergs 2/2008:2177, $373,750 - Heritage 2/2012:3633, $299,000

2 PR63 estimated grade  

Heritage 7/2008:1690, $195,500 - Greensboro Collection - Heritage 1/2013:5645, $123,375

3 PR62 PCGS grade  

Stack's/Bowers 8/2015:10108, $105,750

3 PR62 estimated grade  

Krouner Collection - Lester Merkin 2/1971:736 - Stack's 9/1992:358 - George Byers Collection - Stack's 10/2006:1098 - Heritage 9/2008:2164, $149,500 - Bay State Collection - Heritage 7/2009:1119, $80,500. The Breen Proof Encyclopedia Plate Coin

5 PR60 estimated grade  

Heritage 9/2008:2163, $63,250 - Joseph C. Thomas Collection - Heritage 4/2009:2462, $40,250

Ron Guth: In October 2017, Bust Half Dollar expert Sheridan Downey reported the reappearance of the long-lost Proof 1839-O Half Dollar from the Philip G. Straus Collection (letter B below).  Here's what Sheridan had to say (with minor editing):

"An interesting coin turned up after 35 years in hibernation...The coin is one of 5 known proof 1839-O half-dollars.

Two months or so after Stack's sold the Robison specimen in Feb.1982, the Philip Straus example appeared in one of the last New England Rare Coin Galleries auctions.  I happened to be in NYC at the time and attended the auction.  I bought the coin.  Sadly, I did not keep the catalog.  The coin was accompanied by Walter Breen's letter, confirming its provenance and proof status.  The letter was available at lot preview, but did not accompany the coin when it was shipped to me.  NERCG apologized and footed the bill to have the coin photographed and authenticated by ANACS...
 
My wife was aghast that I'd spent a large sum on a 50 cent piece.  To maintain domestic tranquility I gave the coin to my friend and contemporary, PNG member Gary Young.  Gary retired from the coin business in the mid-1980's.  Gary sold the coin for me at the 1982 Boston ANA Convention.  I believe that he sold it to either Don Taxay or Mike Berton.
 
Skip forward 35 years.  Last month I received a phone call from a gentleman who had purchased the coin as an investment, August 1, 1982, from Mike Berton, then associated with Don Taxay(?) and now with JJ Teaparty.  The owner found me by Googling my name on the ANACS certificate.  He is not a coin collector.  The coin stayed in his safe deposit box from 1982 until now.  I encouraged him to have the coin graded and encapsulated by PCGS.  It arrived in Oakland last week. After a quick visit to my photographer, I sent it to [PCGS].
 
If you look at the coin you'll immediately see that it has a medallic turn.   Breen noticed this when he cataloged the Philip Straus Collection for New Netherlands in 1951.  In his 1977 Encyclopedia of US Proof Coins Breen asked, rhetorically, "is this constant for all proofs."  It is not.  The Robison/Queller coin, for example, has a coin turn."