1794 C2 Half Cent
1794 1/2 C Small Edge Letters. C-2a, B-2b, Low R.3. Die State 1. AU58 NGC. XF40 EAC. Date closely spaced, 7 low; T in CENT leans left. The plate coin for the obverse on the Gilbert plate. Plated in Manley for the main illustration and also for State 1. Faint obverse clash marks. This is a solid Condition Census example of the variety and a spectacular coin with a pedigree to match. It is listed in the Breen Half Cent Encyclopedia as a conservative Extremely Fine, a grade that places it in a tie for fifth place in his Condition Census. The surfaces are smooth medium olive-brown with tinges of maroon. A few tiny marks are present, the only one of significance located between the forehead and TY, and even this is quite small. Ron Manley noted the disagreement between Breen and Cohen regarding the number of berries in the right branch of the wreath. Manley agreed with the Cohen count of four berries. This example clearly shows the "fifth berry" described by Breen, which is nothing more than a lump on the outer edge of the leaf whose tip is below the F in OF. This cataloger agrees with Manley and Cohen, suggesting that this small lump hardly constitutes a berry.
Jules Reiver purchased the Bareford Collection of Half Cents, and sold many of them afterward, keeping only those special pieces that he wanted for his own collection. Several of the pedigree chains in Breen that end with the Harold Bareford - William Bareford link will be found in this offering of coins from the Reiver Collection.
Earlier from the Hillyer Ryder Sale by New Netherlands. Their description may prove to be instructive to present day readers: "Delicately mottled in several shades of light brown. A nice half cent, evenly centered, and displaying light, gradual wear upon both sides. Careful examination reveals a small obverse nick under Y of LIBERTY, and another, upon the reverse over L of HALF. The only wear upon the obverse is apparent in two small flat spots, one on the forelock, the other on the brow. The hair on this die was very softly engraved, as on the Hays 25 Cent [Sheldon-27], the obverse of which this resembles. While showing signs of reverse handling, this piece is one of only three top examples. Common enough in ordinary condition, it is prohibitively rare choice." This description, written half a century ago, is equally accurate today. Breen Die State II.
Ex: Richard B. Winsor (S.H. and H. Chapman, 12/1895), lot 1003; George H. Earle, Jr. (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 3602; Hillyer Ryder; Ryder Estate; Wayte Raymond (12/1944); New Netherlands 44th Sale (6/1954), lot 264; Harold Bareford; William Bareford (7/20/1984). Envelope Included.(Registry values: P7)
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