The Eliasberg Choice Mint State 1796 15 Stars Half Dollar
Second Finest Regular Strike Known
Described as Prooflike in our sale of the Eliasberg Collection, both sides of this piece do reveal modest reflectivity in the fields as the surfaces rotate under a light. Otherwise satiny in texture, handsome toning in silver-lilac and olive-russet speaks volumes about this coin's originality. The strike is as close to full as one could realistically expect to see in a Small Eagle Draped Bust half dollar, and there is not so much as a single outwardly distracting abrasion on either side. For provenance confirmation the obverse has faint adjustment marks in Liberty's hair moving from upper left down to lower right, crossing her temple, and the reverse has a small nick below the right (facing) wing, as noted in the recent reference work by Jon P. Amato, Ph.D. titled The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796 - 1797 with this specific coin noted on page 47. Two Specimens are noted from these dies, one is the Knoxville specimen, the other is from the Mougey-Granberg-Allenburger-Judd-Walter specimen.
The original mintage of this issue is believed to be around 400-600 pieces, with a similar number struck of the sixteen star obverse variety for the recorded total of 934 pieces. Therefore, this issue is one of the rarest regular issue silver coins of the entire mints silver production. Survival rates are low from this early period, and all the known examples have been tracked through auction appearances by Dr. Amato and are carefully researched and presented in his published work. It would be difficult to imagine a much finer example than the present coin, and considering the expanding pursuit of these types of rarities and the classic American coins, we suspect the attention to continue to be focused on these well known rarities for years to come. Here is an opportunity to put away one of the great blue chip coins of American numismatics, and a coin that will instantly be recognized by any knowledgeable collector when presented.
Estimate: $0.00 - $0.00
Pedigree: Ex: Benjamin H. Collins, January 1896; J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp estate, 1942; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; our sale of the Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, April 1997, lot 1673; Heritage's Denver, CO Signature & Platinum Night Auction of August 2006, lot 5222; our Orlando Sale of January 2009, lot 400, unsold; our Treasures from the S.S. New York sale, July 2009, lot 523.
PCGS Population: 1; 1 finer (Mint State-64).