The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the July 28 issue.
Classic-era commemorative half dollars from 1892 to 1954 generally weren’t meant to circulate. A large percentage of nearly all issues survive in Mint State grades and collectors are passionate in their devotion to the series.
Each issue has its own unique look, but because the designs are less familiar than, say, a Barber half dollar, they often invite close inspection.
Here is one of three from a GreatCollections.com auction that closed July 6, 2014, with great lessons to share:
The coin: Counterstamped 1925 Stone Mountain half dollar, Mint State 63
The price: $1,710.50
The story: Among the more plentiful of the classic-era commemoratives is the 1925 Stone Mountain half dollar. While a normal MS-63 example might sell for around $70, this one with a reverse counterstamp of ARK 203 brought a robust $1,710.50.
As reported by Anthony Swiatek in his Encyclopedia of the Commemorative Coins of the United States, these counterstamped coins were part of a private plan called the “Great Harvest Campaign” to counterstamp Stone Mountain commemorative half dollars with letters and numbers to create unique pieces.
The half dollars were marketed to Southern states and a few are known to have had certificates of ownership issued when they were sold. The same lettering styles were used for the stamps, and Swiatek proposes that they were likely produced by the Confederate Mountain Association.
As most were purchased by noncollectors, relatively few remain in Mint State condition with average examples showing wear and occasional damage.
Check out the rest of Steve Roach's Market Analysis column:
- 1922 Grant Memorial half dollar labeled a minor Mint error gets starting bid of $2,750, goes unsold
- 1950-S Booker T. Washington half dollar with 'almost painted on' shading sold in GreatCollections.com auction
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