Official NGC Recognition of the US/Philippines 1944S 50 Centavos Type I Obverse variety began on September 30, 2015.
A little over four years ago, I wrote a journal entitled "New Variety" (http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=10460)in which I described the characteristics the two different obverse varieties of the 1944S US/Philippine 50 Centavos. I'm not going to repeat that journal post here, but rather just describe the process of obtaining variety recognition by NGC.
I talked to NGC several times at Numismatic shows in 2012 and 2013, but was generally told that if the coin didn't have an Allen number, then NGC would not recognize it. I even petitioned to have an Allen number created for it, but the ownership of the Allen Guide was in transition at the time. The NGC policy softened over time, and after discussing the variety with Mark Salzberg, the Chairman of NGC, at the 2014 ANA World's Fair of Money, I submitted one of these coins for grading in August, 2014. After my conversation with Mark, I was hopeful that the coin would have the variety attribution on the label when I got it back, but no such luck when it arrived. In August of 2015, I again discussed the coin with Mark Salzberg at the 2015 World's Fair of Money in Chicago. As soon as I sat down to talk with Mark, he remembered me from our conversation one year earlier, and as soon as he saw the coin, he knew exactly why I was there. I was greatly impressed, and this time, the results were much better. I got the coin back in October 2015, and the variety attribution "OBVERSE OF 1907-1921" was prominently displayed on the label.
The variety is now included in the NGC Variety Plus program for US/Philippine coins even though it still doesn't have an official Allen number. The Variety Plus page (http://www.ngccoin.com/coin-varieties/philippines-under-us-sovereignty/1944-s-usa-phil-50c-obverse-of-1907-1921-5713) was very well done too and it contains two very high resolution pictures of my coin.
I submitted two more coins in January of this year and got them back in March, one graded MS64 and the other as MS65. All three are pictured below with my first one in the middle. As of today, these are the only three with the Variety Plus attribution. Although this variety is not particularly rare, high grade examples are. The design was most likely changed because the coin did not strike well, so coins of this variety were among the first to be struck and probably the first to be released into circulation. I strongly suspect there was more than one obverse die used to strike these coins, but certainly a very small number considering the total mintage of 19,187,000.
The process took longer than I expected, but I'm glad I kept at it. Now all we need is an official Allen Number.
* "U.S./Philippine Coins" by Lyman L. Allen 7th Edition 2012 updated and edited by Tom Culhane, Union NJ, 2012
* "U.S./Philippine Coins" by Lyman L. Allen 6th Edition 2008-2009 published by Lyman Allen Rare Coins Virginia City, NV 2007
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