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The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 46, November 9, 2014, Article 13

TWO ORIGINAL CONFEDERATE HALF DOLLARS COME TO MARKET

Bill Gibbs of Coin World beat me to it - commenting on the remarkable appearance of TWO original Confederate half dollars on the auction market next year. It's one of my personal favorite coins, one of the most important in American numismatics. I've owned a nice restrike, but could never dream of having an original. Here's his article, published on 11/07/14. -Editor

One of the most remarkable things about a truly remarkable coin, the 1861 Confederate half dollar, is that not a single example sold at auction until October 2003. Even private transactions were rare; none have been known to have occurred since the 1970s.

Rarity alone (four examples are known) probably cannot account for the infrequency of the coin’s appearance in the marketplace. Examples of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coin, five known, sell with some regularity. Two examples of that coin have made three auction appearances in the past five years..

This long history of infrequent availability is what makes the twin announcements from the nation’s two biggest rivals in the numismatic auction business — Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Heritage Auctions — that each will offer an example for sale in the first quarter of 2015 truly remarkable.

One has to look back more than a century, to the period from 1910 to 1912, to find a time when two pieces (the only ones then known) were offered for sale in close proximity.

1861-CSA-Half Ford-Partrick specimen
Ford-Partrick specimen

In January, Heritage Auctions will offer the coin currently owned by Donald G. Partrick, whose ownership of the piece was publicly revealed only on Oct. 30. That is when Heritage announced that coins from his collection would begin appearing at auction in 2015.

Partrick’s coin is the former John J. Ford Jr. specimen, which in October 2003 became the first original Confederate half dollar sold at public auction. That coin brought $632,500 in Stack’s 2003 sale.

1861-CSA-Half New Orleans specimen
New Orleans specimen

The coin being offered by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in March 2015 disappeared between its striking in 1861 and its reappearance in 1970, when it surfaced in New Orleans. Until now, that example has never been offered at auction.

The other two examples of the coin are in institutional collections — the American Numismatic Society holds one, as does the Eric P. Newman Education Foundation.

To read the complete article, see:
Two original Confederate half dollars will make history in early 2015 with auctions (www.coinworld.com/insights/two-confederate-half-dollars-in-two-auctions-in-early-2015.html)

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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