US Coins

Fifth edition of Overton reference on early half dollars available

The new and revised fifth edition of Overton's reference manual on early half dollars, renamed by its editor, Donald L. Parsley, in 2005 as United States Early Half Dollar Die Varieties 1794-1836,  is now available.

Parsley, son-in-law of Al C. Overton, the primary author of the original reference, has been collecting and studying early United States half dollars for more than 40 years. Parsley assisted Overton with the first edition of the book and has personally collected this series of U.S. coinage, including the Overton reference collection. Parsley has handled all of the coins illustrated in the book and owned most of them, according to a press release.

The new fifth edition has photographs of all listed die marriages. The photographs are shown twice actual coin size, and greatly assist the reader with attribution. The new edition is printed on a white-coated paper that will increase the ability to see detail on the coins, according to the press release. In addition, photographs are included for many of the listed die states as well.

Rarities are included for every die marriage. The rarity ratings are revised from the fourth edition to reflect new values based upon knowledge gleaned from the past nine years since publication of the fourth edition. Also, the condition census (a listing of the highest-graded coins) is updated in the new edition.

Since the printing of the first edition in 1971, the trend toward die variety collecting has increased.

The early half dollars were produced from dies that wore out due to use or poor manufacturing techniques. The early coin dies were kept in use until they were not capable of producing coins. This resulted in dies with cracks, chips, clashes and numerous other oddities, all reflected on the finished coins. These die states are addressed under each of the prime die marriages in the book.

The retail price of the 701-page reference is $85 postpaid. Individual orders will be autographed by the author upon request.

Send orders with check or money order to Donald L. Parsley, 23833 Jonathan Place, Murrieta, CA 92562.

Parsley can be reached by telephone at 951-600-1754 or email at

Community Comments