The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 35, August 28, 2016, Article 18


Eliasberg 1815 over 2 half dollar Eliasberg 1815 over 2 half dollar reverse

At the recent American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Anaheim, CA I met dealer (and E-Sylum advertiser) Harry Laibstain who showed me this gorgeous coin from the Eliasberg Collection. Here's the description of it from his web site. -Editor

Gem 1815 Half Dollar from the famous Eliasberg Collection pedigreed on holder. This highly sought after gem is in the top 3 or 4 for quality and grade. More importantly it is the very best CAC coin you can own. No 65 or 65+ have been rated by CAC! This is a fantastic coin with full bold strike and natural lightly toned patina. A beautiful addition to any top Bust Half set or a great type coin for the collector who thinks out of the box. The only other 64+ CAC to trade brought 117,500. This is a very nearly flawless coin with the best obverse I have seen on any of the gems. This is a truly fantastic and important coin for the most discerning collector.

Eliasberg 1815 over 2 half dollar

To read the complete item description, see:
1815/2 50C PCGS MS64+ CAC (

A search for the variety on the Newman Numismatic Portal located an NGC-graded example in a 2009 Heritage sale. Here's an excerpt from the lot description. -Editor

A single die variety is known for the 1815/2 half dollars, in two distinct die states. The overdate feature is particularly visible at the top of the 5. The obverse has a faint die crack from the curl below the ear, onto the neck. While clash marks are especially visible on the reverse, there is no trace of the reverse die cracks found on later die states.

A young nation, barely four decades old, was undergoing great stress and turmoil in 1815. The War of 1812 was still being waged, and the British capture and burning of Washington, D.C. in August 1814 caused extreme unrest and monetary upheaval. The result of these difficulties was hoarding of hard assets, including gold and silver coins, much as citizens did half a century later during the Civil War. Paper money, even with gold and silver backing, was refused, and commerce was driven strictly by gold and silver. Due to these circumstances, little or no gold and silver was deposited at the Mint, and their supply of copper for cents was exhausted. Mint operations in Philadelphia nearly came to a stand still, and for much of the year, the facility was completely silent. The first coinage for the year had to wait until November.

Only quarter dollars, half dollars, and half eagles were coined during the year. There was apparently also production of large cents dated 1816, as John Wright relates in The Cent Book: "Late in 1815, the first shipment of British copper arrived and was immediately coined into Robert Scot's new design cents bearing the 1816 date." Quarter dollars dated 1815 were minted late in the year, with two deliveries: the first, dated December 16, 1815, consisted of 69,232 coins. The second was dated January 10, 1816, and consisted of 20,003 quarters. The entire mintage of 47,150 1815-dated half dollars was also delivered on January 10, 1816. The only other coinage in 1815 was a limited number of half eagles. Just 635 pieces were struck, and they were delivered on November 3, 1815. Total production for the year, all in the last two months, was 137,020 coins valued at $49,058.75. After a 10 month silence, Mint workmen coined an average of 13,700 coins per week for 10 weeks.

The finest 1815 half dollars are the present early die state piece and the Eliasberg Gem late die state specimen.

To read the complete lot description, see:
Landmark 1815/2 O-101 Half Dollar, MS66 ( )

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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