One of just three known 1855-S Seated Liberty, With Arrows half
dollars confirmed as a Branch Mint Proof sold for $158,625 in Heritage
Auctions’ Feb. 3 and 4 sale in New York.
Certified as Proof 65 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., the coin, WB-1
(as cataloged in A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar
Varieties), was one of the top highlights among those offered in
floor sessions over the two days.
In total, 2,486 lots sold, 98.57 percent of the total lots
offered. The lots sold brought prices realized of $11,539,239, which
includes the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.
The coin previously appeared at auction in Stack’s November 1955
sale of the Farish Baldenhofer Collection and has appeared at auction
at least seven times since, according to the catalog description which
calls the piece a “numismatic showpiece” combining “beauty, rarity,
and historical importance.”
Bugert notes in A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties
that the coin is absent drapery at Liberty’s elbow, a result of heavy
die polishing prior to striking.
“Proofs and early business strikes have no clash marks,” writes
Bugert. “The no drapery characteristic resulted from the special die
preparation for proof strikes.”
On each of the four digits in the date, the bottom portions are
weak, especially on the 8 and first 5. This weakness is noted on this
piece and on the example in the National Numismatic Collection at the
Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. Bugert examined
the museum’s example in 1989 and evaluated its level of preservation
at Proof 63+.
For more details about the auction, visit Heritage Auctions online
at www.ha.com or telephone Heritage at 800-872-6467. ■