US Coins

Market Analysis: Just two known from this Draped Bust half dollar die marriage

For collectors who love collecting early U.S. half dollars by die marriages, Stack’s Bowers Galleries offered the E. Horatio Morgan Collection at its Nov. 15, 2019, Baltimore Whitman Expo auctions.

The collection was assembled in the late 1980s to early 1990s and eventually held 546 of the 558 known die marriages for all U.S. half dollars through 1836.

By date alone, an 1805 Draped Bust half dollar is not rare, with a mintage of 211,722 halves. Yet just two examples are known of the Overton 114 die marriage, which was discovered in 1973. The variety represents a pairing of an obverse die used in O-107 with a “workhorse” reverse die used in three 1805 die marriages — O-102, O-108, and O-110 — that continued in use in 1806 on O-104 half dollars.

The coin offered Nov. 15 was discovered and purchased unattributed at a Long Beach Expo in 1987 and became the plate coin for the variety in the third, fourth and fifth editions of Overton’s Early Half Dollar Die Varieties 1794-1836.

The coin is graded Very Good 8 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. Stack’s Bowers Galleries observed, “Handsome dove gray patina in the fields yields to lighter silver gray over many of the design elements,” adding, “The overall appearance is smooth in hand, the obverse especially so, provenance concerns alone compelling us to mention a few tiny nicks within the softly struck area on the reverse above the eagle’s left wing.” This “Overton Plate Coin” brought $55,200.

The other known example has never appeared at auction. 

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