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Lot 33477

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Type Coin
Title Lot 33477
Date 1866
Country U.S.
Service Catalog # 6315
Denomination 50C
Mint Mark S
Description 1866-S 50C No Motto MS67 NGC. CAC. WB-101, Die Pair WB-1, R.4. Ex: "Col." E.H.R. Green. In accordance with the Act of March 3, 1865, all adequately sized silver and gold coins minted after January 1, 1866 were to have the newly authorized motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse. However, there was obviously not enough time between the passage of the act and January 1, 1866 (when 1866 coinage could begin) for the new With Motto dies to be shipped and received by the San Francisco Mint. The vast majority (994,000 pieces) of 1866-S half dollars do display the new motto reverse, but 60,000 pieces were struck between January 1 and March 17, before the westernmost mint received six With Motto dies. As usual with San Francisco products, subsidiary coinage was greatly needed locally, and in the west in general, and the results are predictable: Few examples of the old No Motto 1866-S half dollars were set aside in high grades, making this issue both a condition and absolute rarity. Of the fewer than 20 Uncirculated coins known, this is the finest. Many different dies for the San Francisco half dollar coinage of 1866 were recognized at an early date by variety specialist John Colvin Randall. When his collection was sold by prominent dealer W. Elliot Woodward in June of 1885, an example from six of these dies was offered, five of the Motto type and one extraordinary No Motto specimen. Lot 485 featured the No Motto coin: {blockquote}"1866 No. 3; San Francisco mint; without the motto IN GOD WE TRUST; uncirculated, and of the most extreme rarity. Mr. Randall and myself believe it to be the only known specimen in this condition; for rev. see plate."{/blockquote} The lot was purchased by T. Harrison Garrett and remained in the Garrett Collection for almost a century. Of course, the present coin from Eric P. Newman's collection exceeds even the outstanding Garrett example in terms of quality and eye appeal. The roster of the top four finest 1866-S No Motto halves includes: {blockquote}1. MS67 NGC. Ex: "Colonel" Green; Eric P. Newman. The present coin. 2. MS66 NGC. No known public sale of this piece. 3. MS65 PCGS. ANA Auction (Heritage, 7/1993), lot 6348, where it brought $41,800. 4. MS65 NGC. John Colvin Randall Collection (W,Elliot Woodward, 6/1885), lot 485; Garrett Collection, Part I (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1979), lot 350; 70th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/2006), lot 1217; J.A. Sherman Collection (Stack's, 8/2007), lot 696. {/blockquote} This half dollar has wonderfully lustrous surfaces with pale accents of amber around the margins. The strike is complete in all areas. Only one pair of dies is known for this variety. The reverse die has a small thin S mintmark that is centered between the arrow feather and olive stem tip; this same die was used in 1865-S and shows a small die crack along the top of and between the letters UNITED STATES. The obverse die has faint diagonal die lines in and through the drapery below Liberty's elbow into the right obverse field; diagnostic for this die. Both dies display clash marks in the fields, a feature seen on almost all examples of this half dollar. Ex: "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $40.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $164,500.00 . Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

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