The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Half Dollar worth 1 million times its face value to be auctioned
The 1838-O Capped Bust Half Dollar valued at as much as $500,000.



SANTA ANA, CA.- Numismatic auction powerhouse Stack’s Bowers Galleries will be presenting for sale a famous and ultra-rare 1838-O Capped Bust Half Dollar at the Whitman Baltimore Winter Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center on Nov. 14, 2019.

Valued at as much as $500,000, the 1838-O is one of only nine known to exist from an estimated mintage of no more than 20 coins made of this first issue of half dollars from the then newly opened New Orleans Mint. This particular mint was established to produce coins of several different denominations at the time but its main focus was the 50 Cent Piece, which was needed to convert the flow of uneven quality Latin American silver coins into a sufficient quantity of new United States coins fit for banking and commerce.

However, technical issues and the spread of yellow fever in the area limited production of the coin for that year and very few were struck as a result. Now, the 1838-O Half Dollar is one of the most sought-after coins by collectors and enthusiasts alike due to its rarity and this particular specimen is one of the finest examples available.

A visually stunning example with distinctly sharp features, the surfaces are highly reflective and clearly indicative of a special striking. Light golden-orange peripheries and brief ice blue highlights mark the obverse, while the reverse displays light copper-rose and pale blue iridescence in the fields.

Of the nine known, the present offered piece is known as the Cox Specimen and has been off the market since the 1980s. It hails from "Colonel" E.H.R. Green, the son of the infamous “Witch of Wall Street” Hetty Green, who once owned no less than six (!) 1838-O half dollars. From there, it passed through the hands of several prominent collectors and dealers.

The 1838-O half dollar as an issue has myriad factors that make it a great numismatic coin, one that will forever be revered, studied and dreamed about. The present coin is a stunning example of the issue, and may well find itself off the market for another 40 years once it sells. The opportunity to acquire such an example may not present itself for some time, so serious collectors should carefully consider and take notice.

“This is one of those coins that every serious collector dreams about acquiring,” said Brian Kendrella, President of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “It almost seems that it was fated to become a collector’s item from the day it was struck.”










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