I have Captured my White Whale
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As some of you may know, I have been pursuing a type set of Prooflike coinage for some time now. I am also interested in Bust Halves. Thus, a prooflike Bust Half has been something I've desired for a very long time.

 

These coins are available, but scarce. There are 43 certified by NGC for the series, which represents about 0.12% of the certified population of Bust Halves. In terms of scarcity, that puts them at about the same level as the Barber dime, Barber Half, and Seated Half Dime.

 

There are many dates with PL CBHs known. The most common are 1821, 1823, and 1829 with 7 each. One of the 1829s is a DPL, the only one for the series. Of course, there is no telling how many of these are re-submittals. The 1834 is the fourth most common date, with a total of 5 graded.

 

The grade distribution of PL Bust Halves ranges from AU-55 to MS-66. 7 of the total are either 55 or 58. The majority of the PL CBHs range from 62-64.

 

So, I've been on a quest for one of these for years (since I started my PL set, really). Every time I saw one, it was always out of my budget, or bid to a really high premium. I bid on an 1836 graded AU-55 * PL a few years ago, which sold for a tremendous premium ($1645). Despite a slight amount of wear, the mirrored fields shone through.

 

Each time I bid on a prooflike bust half, she escaped me.... Until now.

 

I saw the present coin come up in a recent Heritage auction, and, through a bit of luck, I found myself in possession of a small horde of cash. I bid quite strongly for this piece, and won it for well below my bid. The market for Prooflike coinage was very strong a year or two ago, but it has cooled back off to reasonable levels (it seems to me). The present coin has sold 2 other times on Heritage in the last 10 years, once for the same amount (in 2013), once for quite a bit more than I paid (in 2008).

 

Prooflike Bust coinage is often quite attractive. These are (often) the very first strikes after the dies were used for proofs. Several of the other 1834 PLs are probably from this (O-101 and O-110 were both used for proofs, and both have PL strikes designated). The coin I won, however, is an O-109. As far as I know, this marriage was not used for proofs. This marriage is interesting because it was actually not struck until 1835 or 1836. The dies sat around until they were needed, and the mint began using up the old dies before the transitioning to the new presses and the reeded edge halves (according to Edgar Souders). My theory, then, is that these dies sat in storage, and were lapped or polished before being put into use. The obverse dies have traces of rusting behind Liberty's head, which lends credence to my theory. There are traces of very fine die polish on both sides of the coin.

 

The coin arrived the other day, and is simply gorgeous. The fields are noticeably reflective. The strike is average (somewhat weak), with incompleteness in the hair and eagle's feathers. These are undoubtedly as struck, as the luster is complete over these high points. The patina is unquestionable original, and fantastically attractive. The sky blue rims fade to lavender and gold centers, on both sides. The reflective fields highlight and accentuate the toning. It is graded NGC MS-63 PL. This is a special coin!

 

It is, of course, ridiculously hard to photograph as well - below you can see Heritage's photos, and my feeble attempts. I hope you enjoy, and if you have any Prooflike Bust coinage to share, post away :)

 

IMG_1936%20copy_zpsuzq4qihv.jpg

IMG_1994_zpshclktbmi.jpg

obv_zpsudigjntw.jpg

rev_zpsaf2hefkv.jpg

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1,486 posts

That's really cool.....

The photos don't do justice, I,m sure....

 

Paul

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1,689 posts

Congrats! I'm sure it's a beauty

 

mark

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4,844 posts

That is a special coin for sure.

 

I really like the fact that it's choice mint state.

 

Congratulations!

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304 posts

Congratulations on the beautiful addition to your set. Even the Heritage photos show the PL tendencies of the coin.

 

 

 

Doug

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11,793 posts

Wonderful!

 

The elusive species "mobius dicae mintstatae." A fine catch in any pi net, Capt Ahab!

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524 posts

Nice coin and congratulations! What I really like about this coin are the original toning and surfaces. I'm sure in hand the PL mirrors really make it pop too.

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A great coin, and tough to find. I had an 1829 Bust 50c come back from NGC as AU58PL after grading at ICG as AU55 and not selling in the $500 or so range. Suffice it to say I listed it around market for these (around $1500) and it sold in hours on ebay. I asked Dave W. the early Bust coin expert about what the demand was for these and he said my price was about right.

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A great coin, and tough to find. I had an 1829 Bust 50c come back from NGC as AU58PL after grading at ICG as AU55 and not selling in the $500 or so range. Suffice it to say I listed it around market for these (around $1500) and it sold in hours on ebay. I asked Dave W. the early Bust coin expert about what the demand was for these and he said my price was about right.

 

Do you have pics to share of this one? I can't recall having seen it. The price is consistent with what I've seen them sell for.

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Here's my PL-ish AU55 CBH. I think the obverse qualifies but the reverse just misses.

 

a6BGjrOtSG7P91FebOQQ_1834%2050c%20AU55%20slab.jpg

t0B870qJS82Iuhzii2dy_1834%2050c%20AU55%20rev.jpg

 

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Congratulations, Jason. I know you've been looking for a while!

 

For reference, here is the mentioned 1834 O-101 NGC Prooflike. It has deeply mirrored fields and cameo contrast.

 

1834o101PL_zpszvyx0rfs.jpg

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Wonderful!

 

The elusive species "mobius dicae mintstatae." A fine catch in any pi net, Capt Ahab!

 

This may be one of my favorite posts ever. I lol'd for about 5 minutes straight. My roommate had to come in and ask what was so funny.

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Congratulations, Jason. I know you've been looking for a while!

 

For reference, here is the mentioned 1834 O-101 NGC Prooflike. It has deeply mirrored fields and cameo contrast.

 

1834o101PL_zpszvyx0rfs.jpg

 

Stunning! I knew you had (at least) one of these, but I couldn't remember what date. What is the grade one yours, and can you show a reverse pic?

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Thanks, Jason!

 

1834 O-101 Reverse NGC MS61PL

 

1834r101z_zpscybhn4ve.jpg

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1,607 posts

Lovely coin....congrats. I am reading about MSDs and it talks a bit about the 1834 recreations.

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Nice coin, congrats. Hopefully you don't get death threats like I did when I got my whale.

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4,160 posts

Super coin!!!! Congrat's!!!!

 

 

:applause:

 

 

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Nice coin, congrats. Hopefully you don't get death threats like I did when I got my whale.

 

?

 

I got death threats ATS from Crypto79 when I posted a thread with it.

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515 posts

Nice proof like CBH; didn't realize these existed until you posted your catch. Enjoy the "Nantucket sleigh ride" while you have her...thanks for sharing!

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So all these coins have 4 inch reflections?

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