US Coins

Heritage offers rare 1853 half dollar in ANA auction

The Jim O’Neal Collection of Proof Type Half Dollars includes this 1853 Seated Liberty, Arrows and Rays half dollar graded Proof 65 by PCGS and bearing a green CAC sticker, one of perhaps seven Proof representatives of the entire one-year type.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Heritage’s Aug. 16 Platinum Night auction at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money will offer a high-grade example of a rare Proof Seated Liberty half dollar.

An 1853 Seated Liberty, Arrows and Rays half dollar graded PCGS Proof 65 and also bearing a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker is a highlight from the Jim O’Neal Collection of Proof Type Half Dollars. It is one of perhaps seven known from an unrecorded mintage and is the finest graded at PCGS. It most recently sold at auction at Heritage’s January 2012 Florida United Numismatists sale where it brought $184,000, establishing an auction record for the issue, which is in demand as a one-year type coin. 

The finest certified example was offered at Bowers and Merena’s November 1988 auction of the Norweb Collection and most recently was presented at Heritage’s January 2013 FUN auction where, graded Proof 66 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., it realized $135,125. 

The arrows at the date and the rays on the reverse were placed on 1853 half dollars produced at the Philadelphia and New Orleans Mints to alert the public that the weight of the 90 percent silver half dollar was reduced from 13.36 grams to 12.44 grams. In 1854 the arrows at the date continued but the rays on the reverse were removed and this new subtype is represented in the collection by an 1855 Seated Liberty, Arrows half dollar graded Proof 64 Cameo by PCGS and bearing a green CAC sticker. The traditional design — without the arrows on the obverse and the reverse rays — would resume in 1856. 

Other stars of the O’Neal half dollar type collection include an 1827 Capped Bust half dollar graded Proof 66 by PCGS, an 1838 Capped Bust, Reeded Edge half dollar graded PCGS Proof 66+ with a green CAC sticker, and an 1846 Seated Liberty, Medium Date half dollar in PCGS Proof 65, also with a green CAC sticker. 

Later design types are represented by an 1898 Barber half dollar in PCGS Proof 68 Deep Cameo, as well as a 1938 Walking Liberty half dollar graded PCGS Proof 68 and a PCGS 1950 Franklin half dollar in Proof 67+ Cameo, both with green CAC stickers. 

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