US Coins

UK hoard includes rare US 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar

An 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar has been authenticated and graded from among several thousand U.S. and world coins stored in tobacco tins, secured in a canvas bag and kept for decades under the staircase of a British home.

Professional Coin Grading Service graded the coin Mint State 63, with PCGS CoinFacts valuing the coin at $70,000.

London Coin Company in the United Kingdom is contracted to execute the sale of the coin.

“Part of the joy and excitement of collecting is the discovery of scarce treasures and wondering at the journey of each individual piece through time,” said PCGS President Brett Charville. “We can only speculate as to this coin’s complete path and provenance before making its way to the PCGS Paris office.

“To have this coin forever encapsulated in a PCGS holder will ensure it survives for generations to come while maximizing the value, security and liquidity.”

Coin inherited

Darren Edmonds, from Halesowen, nine miles southwest of central Birmingham, said he had inherited the coins a decade ago, upon the passing of his mother. The coins that his father and grandfather had amassed were recovered from under the stairwell of the family’s home when his mother’s estate was being settled.

The 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar “was part of my later father’s collection,” Edmunds said. “Some were his father’s, so they have been in my family for more than 80 years. I doubt he knew its real value.”

The 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar stood out from among all the other coins his father and grandfather collected, Edmonds said. Edmonds said he took the coin to London Coins for examination and a numismatic opinion.

The firm arranged to have the coin shipped to the United States, for PCGS to evaluate and verify its authenticity.

The 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar is from a reported mintage of 47,150 Capped Bust half dollars struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1815.

According to Early Half Dollar Die Varieties 1794-1836 by Al C. Overton, with later editions revised and edited by Donald Parsley, “Unused dies from 1812 were retrieved from the unused die storage area of the Mint and a 5 was punched over the 2. This obverse die and a single accompanying reverse die were the only set of dies used to produce all the estimated 47,150 pieces dated 1815.

“There is, therefore, only one die marriage or variety for the entire year. The estimated rarity for the year shows a large number of pieces available for the collector,” according to the Overton reference.

According to Overton, the entire 1815 half dollar production was delivered to the Philadelphia Mint’s cashier on Jan. 10, 1816, one day before the facility’s smelt and mill houses were destroyed by fire.

Overton catalogs the 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollars as O-101 and O-101a; the latter designation is for later die state coins with die cracks appearing on the reverse.

While the PCGS grading label for Edmonds’s coin does not distinguish it as O-101 or 101a, images of the coin match details for the O-101a, showing evidence of die cracks on the reverse. Ingram Lieberman, owner of London Coin Company, confirmed Edmonds’ half dollar is an O-101a, based on die markers, and it is listed in the PCGS Population report as such.

Edmonds’ half dollar is one of 471 submissions handled by PCGS for the overdate, one of 11 Mint State coins and one of four designated MS-63. The 471 submissions range in grade from Very Good through MS-66+.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has handled 267 examples of the 1815/2 half dollar from Poor through MS-66+, with another 222 designated with Details grades from Poor to MS-65 because of environmental damage.

ANACS has certified 135 submissions from Basal State to About Uncirculated 58, with another 178 with Details grades from Fair 2 to About Uncirculated 55.

Independent Coin Graders has graded and encapsulated 17 examples from Good 6 to AU-53.

The record auction price for an 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar is $182,125 for an NGC MS-66+ O-101 coin that sold in a Heritage Auctions sale on Aug. 2, 2012.

Family legacy

Edmonds said his father was a tool maker for many years at the Austin Motor Car Company where he often bought, sold and traded coins with fellow workers who had an affinity for collecting.

Edmonds said his father would also visit major marketplaces to secure coins to add to his collection. Edmonds said that, while growing up, he recalls having seen many of his father’s coins, but he never acquired his father’s interest in coins and history.

Until now.

Edmonds said he’s been doing research on many of the coins his father amassed and has been separating them by country and denomination.

While heavy in British coins, with great emphasis on silver crowns, there is a wide assortment of copper and silver U.S. coins. Edmonds estimates the total number at more than 2,000 pieces.

There are coins from Mexico, China, France, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Argentina, India, South Africa, Australia and Jamaica, among others.

Lieberman said his firm, in addition to marketing the 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar, will also handle the liquidation of select U.S. and world coins among Edmonds’s holdings.

Edmonds is hoping his 1815/2 Capped Bust half dollar is acquired by a collector in the United States so the coin can rightfully return home.

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