NGC Certifies Price Collection of Early Half Dimes

Posted on 4/21/2003

Only Complete Set Known

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation is pleased to announce that it has certified the superb collection of early United States half dimes assembled by Mr. Ed Price of New Jersey. Comprising 31 coins from 1794 through 1805, this collection is without peer for both rarity and completeness.

Every known variety is represented, and each specimen in Price's set served as the plate coin for the standard reference on this series (Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837, by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey). NGC has attributed all of Price's half dimes by Logan-McCloskey numbers under its VarietyPlus grading and attribution service.

A very rare variety within the Flowing Hair series is 1795 LM-2. Rated R7 by Logan and McCloskey (4-12 pieces known), the Price specimen grades MS-61. Very rare Draped Bust half dimes in the Price Collection include 1800 LM-2 and LM-4. The former is rated R8 by specialists in this series, with just three known. Ed's coin, grading AU 58, is the finest of these. Price discovered the LM-4 variety and first published it in 1994. Displaying some environmental damage and thus not certifiable by NGC, Price's LM-4 will be certified with details-only grading by Numismatic Conservation Services.

The Price Collection includes some outstanding condition rarities, too. His 1795 LM-10, while not rare in overall numbers, is represented by a near-gem MS 64 example. His 1796/5 LM-2 grades an impressive MS-62. Another choice specimen is Mr. Price's 1801 LM-2, which NGC has certified as MS 63.

For date collectors the highlight of any half dime collection is the rare 1802, and the Ed Price Collection features a wonderful example. Pedigreed to the collections of Lorin Parmelee, William F. Dunham and John J. Pittman, this beautiful specimen grades AU 50. Other pedigrees of note among Price coins include Newlin, Maris, Garrett and Eliasberg.

Certification of his collection was a high priority for Ed Price. "My half dime collection was handled fairly and professionally by NGC, Price noted. "I was very pleased with the entire process, including grading, research, attribution and encapsulation."

A collector since 1950, Ed Price graduated from collecting 20th Century coins from circulation to forming a United States type set. These collections were ultimately sold, as Ed decided to focus on early Federal coinage exclusively, with a particular interest in half dimes. Ten years were required to complete the series from 1794 to 1805 by date and variety. His was the first complete set assembled since that of early half dime researcher, Harold P. Newlin, whose collection was sold in the 1880s. Along the way Ed had the rare privilege of discovering a previously unknown variety, 1800 LM-4. When the late Russ Logan joined together with John McCloskey to pen a new book that would replace Daniel Valentine's outdated reference, Ed generously loaned his collection to serve as the plate coins.

Mr. Price's advisor has been coin dealer Stuart Levine of Massachusetts. "It has been both an honor and a privilege to work with Mr. Price," Levine acknowledged. "The assemblage of half dimes by Ed Price is a major milestone in the history of United States coin collecting. It is the most extensive collection of early half dimes ever amassed, comprising 31 separate and distinct varieties. Since Newlin's collection of 24 different varieties (considered complete at the time) was sold in 1883, no one has been able to put all the pieces back together."

Levine also observed that seven different varieties have been discovered since Newlin's time: "Ed Price has succeeded in finishing a set that had not been completed for 120 years. It is my opinion, given today's numerous and competitive collectors, with their increasing levels of knowledge and wealth, that no one else may complete this set by variety for another 120 years."

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