Coin Specifications

Category: Patterns & Trial Coins (1792-1863)
Mint: Philadelphia
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1838 J-80 50C PF obverse 1838 J-80 50C PF reverse
Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions (HA.com)
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Description & Analysis

Judd-80, Pollock-87, High R.7.

Design. The obverse design is a slightly modified Seated Liberty motif, with the rock larger, the stars spaced differently, and Liberty's drapery rearranged. The word LIBERTY is incused on the scroll. The date is in the exergue. The reverse features a "defiant" eagle, clutching an olive branch and six arrows, with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around and HALF DOL. below. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

Commentary. Experts agree Judd-80 is a restrike issue, coined long after 1838. Andrew Pollock states the issue was coined in 1858 or later, but allows for the possibility that some original strikings may exist. USPatterns.com's experts doubt that any originals exist and believe the reverse die was not even completed until the late 1860s or early 1870s. A. Loudon Snowden mentions finding a large group of dies and hubs on hand when he assumed the position of chief coiner. Per Snowden, "Among the number were several from which no pieces are known to have been struck. Many of the devices were beautiful in design and exquisite in execution. This was particularly the case with a dollar and half dollar hub by Gobrecht."

Snowden asserted that these items were destroyed in the spring of 1869, but the veracity of this statement is dubious. A hub trial of the eagle on the reverse of Judd-80 survives in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian. It is listed as Pollock-3058. Pollock states that the hub used to strike this trial still exists. It is fascinating to think the half dollar hub Snowden mentions might have been this very hub of the Judd-80 design. It would have been a simple matter to use such a hub to create dies for this beautiful pattern in 1869, just the time frame envisioned by USPatterns.com for the completion of the die.

In support of the theory that Judd-80 had a late production date, the piece was completely unknown before 1875. The first auction appearance was in the Cohen Collection (Edward Cogan, 10/1875), lot 420. Cogan's described the lot as, "1838 Half Dollar. Liberty seated. Rev. Flying Eagle, holding in its talons six arrows and an olive branch. Underneath, Half Dollar. This variety has never before been offered at auction. Only two or three are known to exist, rarer than either of the preceding. Beautiful proof." Dealer John W. Haseltine purchased the lot for $10.50. Haseltine seems to have had an affinity for this design. The first auction appearance of Judd-81, the same design in copper, occurred in his Coin Sale (Haseltine, 2/1877), lot 559. Perhaps Haseltine liked the coin he acquired from Cogan and used his influence at the Mint to get a few examples struck in copper. It is only speculation, but it would not be out of character for Haseltine and the Mint under Henry Linderman.

Whatever its origin, Judd-80 is a rare and beautiful coin. We believe only three or four pieces exist, nearly the same estimate Cogan made 133 years ago.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

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Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 3
Low Grade: 63
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 65

The chart showing 63 series, 64 series, 65 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 9/22/2020 1838 50C J-80 PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--------------111-----3
-----------------------
-----------------------
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Total--------------111-----3
 --------------33%33%33%----- 

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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.