Coin Specifications

Category: Patterns & Trial Coins (1792-1863)
Mint: Philadelphia
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1839 J-96 50C PF obverse 1839 J-96 50C PF reverse
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Description & Analysis

Judd-96, Pollock-104, R.8.

Design. Sometimes called the Backward Head, this pattern features an obverse much like that found on the regular-issue 1839 gold eagles, with a rounded tip on the forward edge of the bust truncation and a pointed tip on the rear edge--but the entire head is facing backward from that on the eagle, right rather than left. Thirteen stars ring the rim, with date 1839 below. The reverse is from the regular-issue Seated Liberty die, Medium Letters, as seen on the 1840 half dollars. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

Commentary. An experiment begun in 1838, the various half dollar patterns continued into 1839, but many of them were clearly restruck as numismatic delicacies or "trade bait" for the Mint Cabinet in the late 1850s. The original pieces struck conform to the weight standard of the Mint Act of January 18, 1837, at 206.25 grains of .900 fine silver (0.430 troy oz.; 0.387 oz. pure silver), while the restrikes conform to the lesser-weight requirements of the Mint Act of February 21, 1853, that is 192 grains (0.4 oz.; 0.36 oz. pure silver).

The original silver and copper half dollars from these dies are classified Judd-93 and 94, while the restrikes are classified Judd-95 and 96, respectively. USPatterns.com makes a useful distinction between the two groups, calling the originals "essai" (a trial strike, from the French essayer, "to try") and the restrikes "fantasy pieces." Only three pieces of the Judd-96 are known, one of them in a museum collection. All of the various half dollar patterns of 1838 and 1839 are incredibly rare to unique--with the sole exceptions of the Judd-72 and 73 in silver--and all are monumentally important. These pieces represent a profound shift in design, from the older Capped Bust style to more-modern designs, and as such are significant previews of the future of U.S. silver coinage.

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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NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

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: 2
Low Grade: 66
Average Grade: 66
High Grade: 66

The chart showing 66 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 9/15/2020 1839 50C J-96 PF BN
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-----------------2----2
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total-----------------2----2
 -----------------100%---- 

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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.