US Coins

1892-O Barber half dollar with 'Micro O' sells at Long Beach Expo

The “Micro O” on this 1892-O Barber half dollar is the result of a quarter dollar Mint mark punch being used rather than the half dollar “O” punch. This Good 4 piece brought $3,525 at Heritage’s June 5, 2014, Long Beach auction.

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The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the June 30 issue.

Heritage Auctions’ June 4 to 8 auctions held during the Long Beach Expo brought more than $16 million. 

As is often the case with these major auctions, a gold double eagle led the bidding. An 1854-O Coronet $20 double eagle graded AU-55 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. brought $381,875. Heritage’s roster lists 21 known examples and this one is among the finest known. 

In an auction that offers more than 6,000 lots, many other scarce coins are offered that, while not the finest known, still provide solid values for buyers.

The coin: 1892-O Barber, Micro O half dollar, Good 4, $3,525

The story: Mint marks were punched individually into the dies used to strike coins at the U.S. Mint during the late 19th century.

The “Micro O” on this 1892-O Barber half dollar is the result of a New Orleans Mint mark punch for a quarter dollar being used, in place of the larger half dollar Mint mark punch that was supposed to be used on half dollar dies. 

Heritage estimates that fewer than 100 pieces are known and cites Professional Coin Grading Service and NGC as grading just 66 examples in all grades. 

This variety has gained popularity in the past two decades, in large part because the distinction is easy to see without magnification. Its recognition has grown to the point that Heritage writes, “This variety is essential for the completion of a Barber half collection.”

Graded Good 4 by PCGS, it sold for $3,525. Another example in the same auction graded Good 6 by PCGS realized $4,406.25.

Read more of Steve Roach's latest Market Analysis: 

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