NGC Certifies Commemorative as "Specimen"

Posted on 5/19/2004

A Grant Centennial half dollar has been certified by NGC as a Specimen striking. An example of the variety having an incuse star in its obverse field, this Specimen coin is believed to be unique.

Issued in 1922 to celebrate the centennial of Ulysses S Grant's birth and to raise funds for a memorial, the Grant half dollar was accompanied by a gold dollar bearing the same design. The half dollars having an incuse star above the name GRANT were coined first, this feature then being ground off the master hub before a much larger mintage of halves lacking the star was produced. The net mintage for the star variety was just 4250 pieces, and the Grant with star half dollar stands as the rarest issue in the U. S. commemorative series in uncirculated condition.

The coin certified by NGC as Specimen-65 has not been previously reported. Four matte proofs were acknowledged by the late scholar Walter Breen, but this Specimen striking has a distinctive satin finish. It is fully struck in every small detail and displays highly raised rims, which features by themselves distinguish this coin from ordinary production pieces. In addition, however, the swirling die-polishing lines characteristic of this issue are particularly bold and fresh, the dies being entirely unworn. Further evidence that this coin was struck before the dies became worn is found in the absence of the prominent obverse die-clash marks seen on the great majority of Grant with Star halves. Only the earliest strikings are free of this defect.

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