US Coins

Market Analysis: Tab-toned 1937 Antietam half reflects storage history

Not all collectors like toning. Some collectors want their coins to look new and bright, while others love deep color that shows a coin’s history. 

The 1937 Battle of Antietam commemorative half dollar celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Sept. 17, 1862, Civil War battle. While 50,000 were authorized, Anthony Swiatek records a net mintage of just 18,000 in his commemorative Encyclopedia

Examples were well-produced, with bold luster and a thoughtful design that allowed for strong strikes. Most were well cared for by collectors, and many have survived in Mint State 65 and finer grades with few contact marks or imperfections. Swiatek writes, “Neither the Generals nor the bridge should show battle scars,” and this PCGS MS-68 half dollar with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that Heritage Auctions offered  at its Summer Florida United Numismatists auction in Orlando is particularly clean. 

Many were sold in paper mailers that allow for attractive “tab toning” as seen here. Heritage writes, “The central obverse is brilliant, while the borders display deep amber and crimson tab toning. The reverse has similar color, although olive-gold toning covers the center.” It brought $7,200 at the July auction, duplicating the price that another less-toned example in the same grade realized at a March auction. 

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