1796 Half Dollar Leads March Sacramento ANA US Coin Offerings from Heritage

by Heritage Auctions on March 11, 2011 · 0 comments

A near-Mint State 1796 50C 15 Stars AU58 PCGS, O-101, R.5., will be among the top offerings from Heritage Auctions at its March 17-20 Sacramento Signature® ANA US Coin Auction, held in Hall A of the Sacramento Convention Center.

1796 15 Stars Half Dollar

1796 50C 15 Stars AU58 PCGS. O-101, R.5. The diagnostic die crack from the rim at 5 o'clock to Liberty's bust, where it then branches out along the drapery, is relatively light on this near-Mint specimen. While the right branch crack displays a faint connection to star 15, it does not extend to stars 14, 13, and back to the rim at about 3:30, as is seen on most 1796 15 Stars half dollars. Moreover, the semicircular crack on Liberty's neck above the shoulder that is usually visible on high-end VF and above coins is absent. The above indicate that this coin is from an earlier die state.

"The superb condition of this stunning 1796 15 Stars half makes it a truly exceptional coin," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, "one that’ll make a handsome addition to the high-grade type set or a date/variety collection of an advanced numismatist."

An 1863 Three Dollar Gold PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC CAC is the auction’s top gold offering and presents a beautiful and evocative link to America’s Civil War, which severely threatened to disrupt the nascent distribution system for proof coins to a mass numismatic audience.

1863 Three Dollar Gold

1863 $3 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. The Civil War threatened to disrupt the nascent distribution system for proof coins to a mass numismatic audience, though history records that mintages persisted through the entire conflict. In 1863, for example, the year that Confederate forces reached the same state that houses the Philadelphia Mint, that facility struck a full range of proof copper, silver, and gold coins, including the little-used three dollar gold denomination. The mintage was not high, of course, and today, the proof 1863 three dollar gold is a valuable rarity regardless of condition.

History records, however, that mintages doggedly persisted through the entire conflict. In 1863, the year that Confederate forces reached Pennsylvania, the same state that houses the Philadelphia Mint, that facility struck a full range of proof copper, silver, and gold coins, including the little-used $3 gold denomination.

The mintage was not high, of course, and today, the proof 1863 $3r gold is a valuable rarity regardless of condition.

"Somewhat over a dozen Proofs survive from a stated production of 39 pieces," wrote Q. David Bowers in The United States $3 Gold Pieces. "Generally, these are in higher grade levels, have cameo contrast, and are very attractive. Such coins are generally available only to buyers who have a great amount of patience.”

Further top offerings include a 1792 1C Washington Roman Head Cent PR64 Brown PCGS, Baker-19, W-10840, R.6, a famous colonial rarity, the exact number of which survive is unknown, although the total is clearly small, given the number of pieces that appear at auction.

1792 1C Washington Roman Head Cent

1792 1C Washington Roman Head Cent PR64 Brown PCGS. Baker-19, W-10840, R.6. The exact number of surviving Washington Roman Head cents is unknown although the total is clearly small, given the number of pieces that appear in auctions. In our own sales since the beginning of our Permanent Auction Archives in 1993, just four auction appearances represent three different coins. Most recently was a PR61 Brown specimen that we sold in our 2011 FUN sale for $66,125. The same coin appeared in our May 2008 auction, where it realized $92,000.

1796 Quarter Dollar, MS64 NGC, B-2, R.3, the only small eagle issue, another stellar and exceedingly rare early silver offering, produced among the first examples of 25 cent pieces issued in 1796.

1796 Quarter Dollar

1796 25C MS64 NGC. B-2, R.3. In 1796 the Mint produced the first examples of coinage in three new series: silver dimes, silver quarters, and gold quarter eagles. This year is noted for numerous rarities, including the two-year half dollar type of 1796-97 and the quarter eagle varieties. Besides being the first year for quarter coinage (and the last until 1804), 1796 was also the first year that all five silver denominations, from the half dime to the dollar, employed the Draped Bust, Small Eagle design.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

About Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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