US Coins

Market Analysis: Miller ‘Little Half Sisters’ in March 19 Rarities Night auction

The ESM Collection of half cents led Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ March 19 Rarities Night auction. Pete Miller’s set of 55 half cents, affectionately called the “Little Half Sisters” by Roger S. Cohen in his book on the denomination, is complete by “Red Book” variety and is ranked second finest on the Professional Coin Grading Service Set Registry in the Half Cents Basic Sets, Circulation Strikes category.

Among the loveliest pieces in the offering was a 1794 Liberty Cap, Head Facing Right half cent with a distinctive high relief bust, graded Mint State 63 brown by PCGS with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker.

The cataloger observes, “This is a sharply struck coin for the variety, although the high relief of Liberty’s portrait means that examples from the Cohen 9 dies are typically seen with some softness within the hair, as here.” One of perhaps a dozen Mint State examples of the variety known, Q. David Bowers noted when cataloging it as part of American Numismatic Rarities’ offering of the Oliver Jung Collection in 2004 that it was among his all-time favorites.

The offered half cent was illustrated in several modern editions of A Guide Book of United States Coins. It brought $72,000.

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