PCGS Set Registry®
Barber Half Dollars with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1892-1915): Dr. and Mrs. Peter K. Shireman Collection

Dr. and Mrs. Peter K. Shireman Collection

Current Statistics
Rank 1
Weighted GPA 66.254
Complete 100.00%
Set Rating 66.254
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About this set: The same as the circulation issue set with the addition of the ultra-rare 1892-O micro O half dollar.NOW THIS SET IS OVER 20 YEARS IN THE MAKING.

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Now the current top-rated mint state Barber Halves in the PCGS registry! What does it take to do this? Passion. Patience. Persistance. Focus. Luck. Decades of searching, hunting and holding. And a GREAT DEALER. All are needed to complete this set successfully at the gem level; our set would not be the high-end PQ set it is today without Harry Laibstain who has helped us considerably along the way. Thanks so much Harry! Your comraderie, great eye for coins, knowledge of numismatics, and market sensibility have aided us greatly. You have helped us find the right coins and avoid the coins that don't work.

Building sets like this is a lot of FUN! This is a set we plan to hold and refine for the long-term; such advice we have received directly from David Hall, and it makes great sense. The set was sent in for Secure Plus May, 2011 and a number of coins upgraded to Plus, a real tribute to the fine numismatic eye of Harry Laibstain. The immense satisfaction and education we have achieved with building this set is unmatched. We have purchased and researched old auction catalogs, and bought any references to Barber Halves that we could find. The Registry Set concept developed by PCGS was a very important contribution to numismatics and has provided a great means of networking among collectors (Steve Duckor and Dale Friend, especially) and dealers. We were able to connect with multiple other collectors and help each other along the way, and the process continues.

Our journey to build this set began in 1994 with an 1892 in MS 64, and was completed with all 73 regular issue coins in mint state in 2002; the last "hole" to fill was the 1911-S. At initial completion of the set the gpa was 63.69, but this has been improved greatly in the interim, particularly since adding numerous coins from the outstanding collection of Mr John Hugon. This now includes the highest graded coin in our set, the 1906-S in MS 68! The sale of the sets of Dale Friend and Steve Duckor has provided us with additional great coins. We also obtained an 1892-O micro O, not part of the regular set, but it is listed in this set with major varieties.

The earliest collectors of the Barber Half series typically collected proof examples for the P-mints, but a trend over the past 50 years or so is to obtain the entire set in mint state and collect the proof examples separately. Thus, collections (sets) put together by Clapp, Emery-Nichols, and Norweb were often obtained yearly directly from the mint and did not include business strike P-mint coins (they collected proof examples of these). Eliasberg bought most of his Barber coins directly from the sale of the Clapp estate, continuing that set mostly intact. A large percentage of the top available coins in the Barber Half Dollar series can be traced to coins put away by these few early collectors. We are not aware of that many collectors putting together complete mint state sets from the 1940's-1950's. Noteworthy collections of Barber Halves in the latter half of the 20th Century into current times included: James Stack (not complete but some exceptionally nice coins), Pryor, Queller, Price, Hugon, Friend, and Duckor.

There are many tough coins in this set in mint state. Gems for most of the dates are very difficult to find. Not all certified gems have the eye appeal we look for. The set is currently being upgraded slowly with a target of MS 65-67. The last regular issue to be obtained in MS 64 or above was the 1900. The last coin needed to attain all MS 65 or better coins was the seemingly common 1908-D; this coin was obtained in October, 2006. Finding a nice gem of this issue was surprising difficult. Specimens are procured from major collections or sales, when possible. The latest addition to the set is the incredible MS 66 + 1896 from a sale of coins found in a Connecticut museum. We love chasing and finding pedigrees for our coins. The Owner's Comments section of our registry lists the pedigrees, where known, and speculates when there is good reason to think the coin has a specific pedigree. Coins range from original and toned to brilliant white coins.

The other serious Barber collectors we have met are also a great addition to the hobby and the set building. Some collect the circulated coins that we love as well. Meeting Dr. Steve Duckor and Dale Friend, fellow mint state Barber Half Dollar registry set builders, has been a real highlight of our collecting experience. The Barber Half display at the February, 2005 Long Beach show was a great opportunity to see three complete gem sets. Attending the auctions of the sets of Steve Duckor and Dale Friend was great fun.

Regarding the population reports of Barber Halves in mint state, most of the numbers are very accurate for coins in the MS 65 and above grades, as so few coins exist and most can be traced with relative ease. With so few coins in the top grade, and many of these listed in registry sets, most can be individually accounted for. There are a few falsely elevated population numbers, but not many in the gem and above grades. This knowledge is helped a great deal by our long-term study of the series, but also aided greatly by the fabulous Coin Facts site that PCGS has developed. We strongly applaud PCGS for this great idea and labor of love that is already a great work, and will only improve with time. All of the coins in this set are imaged using TrueView and can be viewed in Coin Facts, including the large-sized images. A lot of the coins in the set are in the top five or top ten condition census for the issues.

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Dr. and Mrs. Peter K. Shireman Collection
ImagePCGS No.ItemDenomGradePopPop HigherOwner's Comments
6461189250CMS67102Laibstain. Troy Wiseman Collection. The most abundant coin to survive in the whole series in mint state at all grades. Something close to 10% of each and every grade of PCGS certified Barber Halves are the 1892 Philadelphia issue, and this holds through circulated and most all mint state grades. This issue is usually well struck, as is typical of most Philadelphia-struck coins of the era, and the 1892 was saved as first year of issue due to it being the new type. This example is superb with multiple colors over intense luster, a very striking example; it stands out with its vibrant and swirling look. The date is popular for type collectors as it is the first date of the series and is available in all grades with relative ease, although nice F to EF coins are the most challenging grades. Harry's great eye for quality helped us choose this specimen for our set. Only the Duckor coin in MS 67+ and a lone MS 68 are graded higher. This is an especially important coin as it classically starts the set, and in this case does so with great style. A study of the population report of Barber Halves from PCGS shows that the seven or eight most plentiful issues like the 92, 15-D, 12-D, 09, 07-D, 07 etc, account for a large percentage of all certified mint state examples. That means there are a lot of issues that make up the rest of the population, so quite a number of specific issues have few available. As you read below you will note how often it will be stated that few coins exist for a given date and mint mark in mint state. There is a triple die reverse variety for this coin, with the finest known the MS 67 example formerly in the Dale Friend set, but it was not attributed until 2013 when it appeared in the Owen Collection Auction, sold at the pre-ANA sale in August 2013 in Rosemont, Il.
64621892-O50CMS6642Laibstain. The normal sized "O" mint mark. A very pretty coin with colorful natural toning that enhances smooth surfaces of this low mintage early date. Even in low grades, the 92-O is highly praised for its low population and low survival, making it an important coin in any grade. Despite the low mintage, more were saved in EF and AU and low mint state grades because of first year of issue, than otherwise would have been. In MS 64 and above, the date is very tough and at the level of MS 66 like this coin, it is among few peers. The O mint coins are from New Orleans and throughout the series of Barber Halves, there are some weak strikes. Strike weakness is usually noted on the obverse in the detail of the hair of the forehead and the stars, and on the reverse on a vertical line running through the right side of the shield and eagle's left talons. Reverse weakness is also noted in the neck feathers of the eagle and the foot and talons of the eagles' right foot. The O mint coins have the most variability in strike and finding one with a strong strike is challenging, but rewarding. Often the pricing is similar between coins graded the same numerical grade, but with different strikes. There are certain dates in the series that have notoriously weak strikes, such as some of the middle year dates, but early dates like 1893 and 1894 can also show notoriously weak strikes. Mintage figures for the Barber Half series in mint state are not very important, particularly in trying to predict the numbers of mint state survivors. The percentage of surviving coins in mint state only seems to have a weak association to the number minted for any given issue. The mintages do relate better to surviving coins in circulated condition as one would expect. Survival of mint state issues also relates to the time period in which these coins were produced. There were far more coin collectors in 1915 than in 1892, and the popularity of collecting coins from each mint increased in this time period due to the published work of Heaton on mint marks. The production of coin "boards" with holes for each issue also encouraged collectors to build sets with coins from all the different mints.
64631892-O Micro O50CMS6522Laibstain. Very nice surfaces under the medium toning. Proof-like as most uncirculated examples are, but the surfaces come alive when the coin is tipped. Very rare date variety first described by Heaton in 1893. Wrong-sized O mint mark put on die and discovered fairly quickly. Only about 70 examples are known per extensive study from Mike Flanagan, done through the Barber Collectors Society and published in their journal, and confirmed by the population reports of PCGS. Someone compared the mint mark used and determined it likely to be one used on some 1893-O quarters, as the mint mark is thicker on one side of the "o" than the other, in most examples, but there may truly be two different varieties of the micro O mint mark. I have seen a high-grade mint state example that is missing the characteristic die crack (perhaps an earlier die state), and have seen lower grade examples with different morphology of the mint marks (doesn't look like it is just circulation wear to me). The mint mark punches used for the 1892-O quarter had a different morphology than what is seen on the micro O half dollars. The finest example is the Eliasberg/Friend example in MS 68 followed by the MS 67 James Stack/Atwater example, then two MS 65 coins including this one and the former Duckor coin. Ours had been sold in a previous sale by Superior Galleries featuring coins of Jascha Heifetz, but this coin was not one that he owned. Additional write-up is available on Coin Facts. There are other examples out there waiting to be found of this rare and valuable coin; a cherry picker's dream. In the past 10-15 years or so I am aware of at least three low-grade coins found by collectors; at least two were found in low-grade sets. An example with little wear was found that had been made into jewelry and the soldered-on pin clasp has now been removed (certified genuine). Keep your eyes open and you may find one, too (I was the lucky finder of a raw AG3 coin previously not known, and it was certified AG3 by PCGS).
64641892-S50CMS6622Barberlover. Sale transacted from contact made on the PCGS message boards. A very nice MS 66 coin, one of three with only one finer. Well struck and lustrous as is common for this issue. Low mintage and highly respected in all grades, but mint state examples are a bit more common than the mintage would indicate due to the date being the first year of issue. You don't see very many MS 65 and above coins of this date. This is the first San Fransisco coin in the set and like the Philadelphia issues, most come strongly struck and some have full strikes. Coins from the San Fransisco Mint were made for every year of issue from 1892-1915, matching the output of the Philadelphia issues. Early date S-mints do not seem to have roller marks, but issues from about 1902-1907 seem to be the most affected by the planchet striations due to worn out roller fingers handling the planchets prior to striking. Try finding this date in original F12 up through AU 58 and you are in for a real challenge. As with the other coins in the series from 1892, more were saved as first year of issue, but not as many as the Philadelphia issue. This may at least partly be due to the number of collectors in the Eastern US as compared to the area served by the San Fransisco Mint.
6465189350CMS6692Laibstain. Very nice coin with colorful toning over beautiful smooth surfaces and underlying luster. Tied with eight other coins as second finest known grades. The second year of issue and far less commonly saved in mint state than the 1892 issues. This date typically comes well-struck. Surprisingly, there are nine examples tied at MS 66 , with a recently certified MS 67 as the finest known. Although there is no standard rule for dividing up the set, I find it useful to take the 24 years the coins were minted and to divide that into three equal parts, thus considering the coins from 1892-1899 to be the early years, from 1900-1907 to be middle years, and 1908-1915 to be the late years. Each of these groups seems to have some interesting characteristics regarding such features as survival rates, toning, and historical perspectives. There is a minor variety described of the 1893 with a triple die reverse, but as of August, 2013, none have been graded by PCGS. From what I can tell, the coin in our set is not this variety.
64661893-O50CMS6650Laibstain. Beautiful and colorful toning over good luster. A coin that often comes very weakly struck, but strikes run the gamut up to well struck. The Dale Friend collection had a coin that was a very strong strike, for example. Not a common coin in gem, only three are graded at MS 66, making this one tied for finest known. For comparison, the example from the Duckor collection has a softer strike, particularly in the eagle's left talon area, but gorgeous original toning and nice luster. The third known MS 66 example, from the Hugon Collection, was described as proof-like. For 1893 one notices a considerable drop in available mint state coins available from the previous year, the 92-O. This is one of many very tough coins to find in original gem and better condition in the Barber Half Dollar series. This date in MS 66 only comes up rarely for sale or auction.
64671893-S50CMS6571Laibstain. Wow, what an amazing coin; an outstanding example that we really love! This very coin was once owned by Larry Shepherd, and Larry knew his Barber coins very well, being the dealer that worked most closely with John Hugon, helping Mr. Hugon build phenomenal sets. Tremendous luster, strong strike, and free of significant marks, we believe this to be the very best 1893-S half in existence, despite the Pryor/Duckor coin that graded MS 66. We evaluated the Pryor/Duckor coin when offered at auction, and found it not to be as nice as this coin. This is a very underrated coin in our opinion This might be the rarest Barber Half in mint state in gem or better (compare with dates like 1896-O, 1901-S, 1904-S ). The 1893-S is certainly rarer than its "older brother" the 1893-S Morgan Dollar in gem and better, but demand for the half-dollars is not as high as for the ubiquitous and heavily collected Morgan Dollars. Look at the population report numbers and you will see that the 1893-S half is one tough coin, even in MS 64 and MS 63. This issue does come nice and most examples we have seen are lustrous and well struck. We have also previously owned examples in MS 63 and MS 64. The 1893-S is among our favorite dates, and about as close to a "key" date as there is in this set, despite the attention the 1904-S half gets. Compared to prices paid for 1904-S halves in MS 65 and better, the 1893-S is a real sleeper, in our opinion. This exact coin represents a significant turning point in building this set. The price jump from an MS 64 to MS 65 for this date is large and requires a high level of confidence in grading to avoid a costly mistake. This was one of the first coins obtained at auction using Harry Laibstain as an advisor. We never looked back, either.
6468189450CMS66104Laibstain. Duckor/Friend. Picked up directly from the Dale Friend set at auction. This coin has been owned by three collectors that have been involved with the PCGS registry set for many years, and all three have put together gem sets of Barber Half Dollars. This coin serves as an interesting link between the three sets and was a coin traded by Steve Duckor to Dale Friend to help Steve improve his set to the level he did. We are proud to be current holders of this coin in the set. Only two finer examples, one was the coin Dale sold Steve which then sold at the auction of the set of Steve Duckor. As expected, the 1894 comes well-struck. Not an easy coin to find in gem or better. David Lawrence once remarked that the 1894 half in circulated condition is quite a bit more difficult to find than most realize and he once challenged Barber Collectors to try to put together a roll in G condition in a year, as he didn't think it could be done. I never tried, but realized that the date isn't seen as often as one would think. This date also is the 100th anniversary of the first federally struck half dollars.
64691894-O50CMS66+13Laibstain. Hugon coin. A very special coin. One of my favorites with cameo-type contrast and unbelievable peripheral toning. One of those coins you can't stop looking at. Our previous example had been a very nice MS 65 that seemed like the best we would obtain. Then along came the Hugon Collection with many great coins in his set. This 1894-O is a masterpiece. Not one in 1000 mint state coins looks like this. Wish they all were this gorgeous. Strikes can vary for this date, but strong strikes are out there. Higher grade examples exist, but it would be hard for us to replace this coin with any other. There is a coin of this issue listed as MS 68. We would love to see that coin.
64701894-S50CMS6641Laibstain. Eliasberg from Clapp Estate. Very nice example of a tough early date S mint, not as difficult as the 93-S, but really not that much different, either. We bought this coin unattributed, but later matched it up to the Eliasberg coin, with the help of Ron Guth of PCGS. As with all Eliasberg coins from the Barber series, this one traces back to the Clapp collection bought intact by Eliasberg. True gem 94-S's are great coins. One of four Eliasberg coins in this set (94-S, 01-O, 04-O, and 12-S). Out of 74 coins in the set counting the micro O, there are only 50 possible mint state coins (the P mints were proofs, 24 coins). Thus, four out of 50 possible mint state Eliasberg coins is 8% of the available business strike coins from the Eliasberg collection.
6471189550CMS66+31Laibstain. Hugon. An amazing original gem with nice toning, great strike, and wonderful luster. Only one finer coin known. The Hugon collection was put together with the help of a great dealer, Larry Shepherd, formerly the executive director of the ANA. Coins placed in the Hugon set were all high-graded and high-end coins and he collected the mint state and proof coins of Barber Dimes, Quarters, and Halves. The auction brought amazing prices for many of these top-tier coins and we were fortunate to obtain some directly from the auction and also added to them later when additional coins were available. This 1895 coin is very pretty with some green color in the toning and is an outstanding example.
64721895-O50CMS6632Laibstain. Very nice example of a tough date in the series in superb gem. This example is silky and blasty white with a reasonably strong strike, showing a tad bit of weakness on a few obverse stars. Only two graded finer. Not as well known as the two issues that follow it from the New Oleans Mint (the 96-O and 97-O have long been known to be key coins in mint state, and are important in circulated grades, too), but still a coin that does not become available with any frequency in MS 65 or above.
64731895-S50CMS6720Laibstain. Duckor/Price coin. A terrific pedigree for an equally wonderful coin, with beautiful colors, tied for finest known. The coin has great luster and strike. A much tougher date in MS 65 and greater than most recognize. A real prize from the Steve Duckor set of Barber Half Dollars. It is a honor to have such a great coin that was owned by two other doctors. Steve Duckor and Thaine Price.
6474189650CMS66+21Laibstain. Magnificent original coin recently found (2013) in a New England museum where it sat unmolested for nearly 120 years, with other coins of its era. Recently graded and was offered in a Stack Bowers auction. This coin marks the first 1896 of any mint we have been able to acquire in over MS 65 condition. The coin has wonderful original toning, a very nice and sharp strike and beautiful colors, particularly near the rims, more uniform on the reverse. The coin speaks boldly of its originality and has a very clean cheek and very few marks are seen, even with magnification. This is the first new coin added to this set in two full years. The only example graded finer is the example formerly in the Dr. Steve Duckor set, an MS 67, previously of the Dr. Thaine Price Collection. We are very pleased that Harry Laibstain was able to find this coin for our set. The Philadelphia mint coins from 1892-1895 are relatively easily found in gem and better grade, and the 1897-1899 are, as well. The 1896 is clearly the most difficult to find in gem and better from the early years. As mentioned below, the 1900-1905 Philadelphia issues are also difficult to locate in gem, and from 1906-1912 are more easily found.
64751896-O50CMS6533Bowers and Merena. Toughest date in the series in mint state by latest population reports, and has been so for quite some time. When the Lawrence text on Barber halves first appeared in the early 1990's, the 1904-S held a slight lead over the 1896-O and 1901-S as the coin in the series with fewest known certified by PCGS and NGC. These three are still at or near the top, but with the 1896-O now holding first place. We bought this coin directly from Q David Bowers as a retail purchase and we are pleased to have a coin purchased from this expert among coin dealers and writers of fine numismatic works. This exceptional coin is eye appealing and original with some focal light gold color and decent strike. A few patchy toning areas on the reverse help to distinguish this coin from other examples of the date. Long recognized as a key date in the series in mint state, examples in gem and up are truly rare. We would love to know the provence of the coin, perhaps it is from one of the famous early collections. A very tough date and not yet valued as high as the 04-S in equal gem grades. We have owned other examples in MS 64, and many we have seen in MS 64 and above have weak strikes as is sometimes seen for the O-mint products. We hope to some day establish a pedigree for this most important coin.
64761896-S50CMS65105Laibstain. Pryor. James Pryor built a set of half dollars spanning the 1794 issue to the Franklin series. His Barber halves included some extremely nice examples, such as this one. Very nice coin and well struck. Very tough to find nicer. Many examples have prominent roller marks across the cheek; this is a feature that is mint-caused, but we try to avoid coins with this feature, if we can. Has been known as a key date in Barber Halves for a very long time. Having only five others graded at gem MS 65 and only six finer, attests to the true rarity of this date. Also a great date in the circulated set in anything nicer than VG10. As an S-mint coin, it typcially comes well struck and tends to be lustrous as is this example. By far the nicest example we have seen is the Steve Duckor example that he purchased from Dale Friend.
6477189750CMS66+12Adrian Crane. We discoverd and purchased this coin from Adrian after the coin was listed on eBay. A very nice and original monster toned specimen with great peripheral toning that is multicolor. Only two are graded finer and this for a seemingly common P mint from the late 1800's. So many dates in this set are surprisingly difficult over grade MS 64. Barber Halves with peripheral toning in the blue ranges of color like this one are truly stunning. This is a very pretty coin!
64781897-O50CMS66+13Laibstain. Northbay collection offered at auction by Stacks. Formerly this was Abe Kosoff's coin. Incredible dripping luster and few marks on this amazing coin. One of the classic long-known to be tough dates in the series, a coin special enough to make it into the collection of the "Dean of Numismatics". What a great coin! It has it all: very tough date, beautiful look, high-grade, unbeatable pedigree. This date is also difficult to find above G to VG, (finding a nice original F or VF coin is extremely difficult) and like so many coins in the early part of the series, the issue is found with the reverse often worn more than the obverse. An original coin in F to EF is a rare find and highly sought after by the knowledgeable Barber collectors, and when sold often fetches far more money than expected from price guides. This date may be the single most difficult to find regular issue Barber Half in the high circulated grades.
64791897-S50CMS6740Laibstain. North Bay collection (Stacks), formerly in New England Rare Coin Auction 1975, lot 602. Tied for finest known with three other coins and has a beautiful bluish tint over the lustrous surfaces. Strongly struck and a known classic tough date for Barber Halves along with 96-O and 96-S, and 97-O (and others). This beautiful half dollar is a pleasure to behold, one of the old-time classic known rarities of the set, in superb gem condition. This is a date that in good or better condition is a hard to find coin, carrying a premium over the common dates, in all grades. This is clearly a high-end example that was carefully preserved since its striking over 115 years ago.
6480189850CMS6694Dale Friend. This special toned coin with luster bursting forth beneath, was sold directly to us by our good friend, Dale Friend. The date is surpassed only by the one coin Dale found that bettered this one. We consider it an honor to have this coin in our set. The 1898 is considered fairly common in lower grade mint state, and quite easy to find in low circulated grades, and not too difficult in middle and upper circulated grades.
64811898-O50CMS6641Laibstain. Duckor/Akers coin. Very nice coin with excellent strike and nice color. A very tough coin to find above MS 64, and not all examples are very well struck. This issue is difficult to find in any condition above VG. In mint state, few specimens are available in any grade, making this a difficult coin to attain. We had an MS 64 example, then obtained an MS 65 coin, and then finally purchased this coin from the Duckor sale at auction. There were years between these upgrades as the date almost never is available in gem. Any coin from the Duckor collection is special as it was chosen very carefully from all available coins over several decades with the help of David Akers (one of the great coin dealers; he knew and loved Barber Halves very well). Only one coin is graded finer, and I believe that is the incredible coin from the Pryor collection that is proof-like and amazing for this issue; I'm not sure where that coin is presently. Our coin has original toning with some pretty colors and complements the other coins from 1898 in this set. We feel that the 1898-O is underrated by many people. Mid and upper grade circulated examples are also difficult to find and this date ranks up there with several others for most difficult to find in VF to AU.
64821898-S50CMS6632Laibstain. A very nice toned and well struck coin, from late 1800's with good strong strike and nice toning. Tied with three others for second finest for the issue. Many coins from San Francisco from 1898-1900 were sent to the Philippines and many circulated there in commerce.
6483189950CMS66+22Laibstain. Hugon. A very nice example from John Hugon's amazing Barber Half Dollar collection. Nicely struck, nice toning, and underlying luster make this a very special coin. Despite the mintage, the date is very difficult in MS 66 and above, like so many others in the set, but P mint coins typically seem like they would be more available. How coins such as this one even survived for the past 110 plus years in such wonderful condition is nothing short of amazing!
64841899-O50CMS66+30Laibstain. Hugon coin. Very nice example with mellow toning and good strike. Tied with two others for finest known, one of the many tough coins in the set in gem and better.
64851899-S50CMS66+13Whitlow. Very lustrous coin with nice peripheral toning and excellent strike, typical for an S-mint Barber half. A very nice example and only bettered by three coins. One of the issues that was heavily exported to the Philippines, and many saw circulation. The highest graded is an MS 68. Not at all an easy coin to find in gem or above.
6486190050CMS66+12Laibstain. A very pretty coin from Harry Laibstain. Amazing blue toning is present over both obverse and reverse. The coin came from an original 1900 Mint Set Harry bought. This example is only bettered by one single coin. The P mint coins from the middle of the series are all very tough in gem and above. Remember that most early collectors used proof coins from Philadelphia rather than circulation strikes in building their collections. Only from scattered and seemingly random saving do we have preserved today coins in high grade like this one. It not only had to survive not getting put into circulation, but it was never cleaned, polished or mis-treated in its 111 years of existence. Also, many coins even carefully cared for can develop toning that is not very eye-appealing. This coin has beaten all the odds to survive to today, and is now safely stored in a very stable PCGS Secure holder. Though we do not know the exact reason that someone saved the particular set of uncirculated coins from 1900 from which this half came from, various possibilities certainly include: birth year for a family member, wedding year for someone, change in the dates from 1800's to 1900's, etc. Entertaining such notions about coins is part of what makes collecting coins so much fun!
64871900-O50CMS65+12Laibstain. Richmond collection sold at auction by David Lawrence Rare Coins. The 1900-O is a very difficult date in MS 64 and finer, and a few have proof-like finishes like the Norweb coin in MS 66 that was in the Duckor collection, and two other MS 64 examples we once owned. One of our most favorite dates. This is a very nice and lustrous clean frosty coin that is better struck than the Norweb coin, but has a satiny luster, not the proof-like features alluded to above. Very few coins are graded MS 65 and higher, tougher in gem grade than the 04-S and the 96-O. Strike can vary from poor to decent and it is generally better to get a better struck coin for a particular grade than a weak strike. Gene Edwards, a dealer very knowledgeable in Barber Halves several decades ago, without benefit of third-party grading, population reports, or the Internet, knew that this date virtually never comes fully struck. With the current technologies and grading, his observations still hold up. Such knowledge took years to accumulate in those days, but now is more easily disseminated with the Internet, third-party grading, Registry Sets with images, and auction archives with images. Remember this when you peruse the Coin Facts site of PCGS; they are providing all of this immensely important information in a very handy format at a low cost. The 1900-O is another tough date to find in nice mid and upper circulated grades.
64881900-S50CMS6574Heritage. One of only a few MS 65 coins in our set, the lowest grade remaining among the set. The 1900-S issue is very hard to find above MS 65, and is an unsung difficult issue in the series. Only four have been graded finer by PCGS. That makes this coin a very elusive issue in MS 65 or better. This one is a toned example with nice surfaces and with luster, and overall covered by light toning. This coin was bought in an old first generation PCGS holder from a Heritage Auction. The image shows the coin's surfaces nicely. The last of the three issues exported to the Philippines, and like the 98-S and 99-S is hard to find since so many were sent away and were circulated. This is not an easy date to find in gem and better.
6489190150CMS6720Laibstain. A very tough to find coin in MS 65 or above. This is a middle year P-mint date that no one seemed to save in mint state condition at the time of issue, as proofs were more popular among the collectors of the day. Very nice toning on this fabulous piece. Tied with the Duckor Collection specimen as the finest known. Amazing to think this coin has a population of only 2 in MS 67 whereas the highly sought-after 1904-S has three coins in the same grade. Finding coins like this one is extremely difficult and makes the hunt for such coins fun and enjoyable, when an example can be found. This coin is another example of how difficult the P-mint coins are from 1900-1905. The mintage of the 1901 has little to do with how many superb gems remain.
64901901-O50CMS65+13Laibstain. Eliasberg coin from Clapp Estate. This coin is nearly white, decently struck for an 01-O and has nice fields and smooth surfaces. It is a very tough date in all grades of EF 40 and up with less than 10 examples in each listed grade all the way up to the finest coins in MS 67. At MS 65+ we have a coin that is only bettered by three others. The pedigree tells us the coin was collected from the Mint by the Clapp family, later sold to Eliasberg, and shortly after the Eliasberg auction, purchased by us. A very key coin to this set in almost any grade over F12, and a highly desirable and choice gem specimen in this mint state collection. This coin provides an excellent example that fits in this set beautifully.
64911901-S50CMS6633Lawrence. Nice coin with original toning over lustrous and clean surfaces. The 1901-S half is quite a rare coin. This was known among Barber Half Dollar experts of ages past, and has been verified by population reports generated once third-party grading began. In his 1991 book on Barber Half Dollars, David Lawrence had the 1901-S half among the top three rarest in all mint state grades as certified by PCGS and NGC. Very tough date in all grades above MS 63 and harder to find than its little brother the 01-S quarter, as there are fewer examples of the halves available or graded than there are the quarters. Examples of 1901-S halves in gem or better condition only become available in rare circumstances. Pricing for this date is well below what would be expected compared to the 1904-S of nearly equal populations, or for some issues that have more available.
6492190250CMS66+11Laibstain. 2008 Heritage ANA sale. A lustrous and pretty toned example, dripping with originality. What seems at first to be a coin that would be fairly easy to find in gem, the 1902 is a real sleeper. The population of surviving gems from Philadelphia from 1900-1905 is few, and a perusal of the population reports tells you the real facts. These coins are really rare! Part of this is explained by the fact that many of the contemporary collectors saved proof examples for their Philadelphia examples. This is one of the more recent coins that Harry helped find for us. The coin as a 66+, is the second finest known. You just don't see the middle dates like this one show up very often. Harry's expert eye is very helpful to us in forming this collection.
64931902-O50CMS6630Laibstain. Price coin. A very top-notch incredible example of an extremely tough date in the series. This may well be the nicest of the date. Beautiful original toning complements the striking, and very few marks are noted. Very likey the Emery-Nichols specimen. Akers indicated to us that this coin was held by him for many years before he sold it to Dr. Thaine Price; Akers attended the Emery-Nichols auction (among many others) and bought many of the pristine Barber Halves from that sale. He held many of them until he helped Dr. Thaine Price, then Dr. Steve Duckor build magnificent Barber half sets. Thus, all the factors, including the time-frame would fit well with this coin coming from Emery-Nichols. A very tough middle date coin from New Orleans that is one of the most notoriously poorly struck as a rule, along with the 00-O and 01-O. We have seen some 1902-O's that were horribly struck; if one was looking to find a poorly struck mint state Barber half, one would do well to search among examples of the 02-O. This one is certainly not completely struck but is quite strong for an 02-O. There are some MS 64 coins that are very strongly struck, but lack in other attributes, thus those examples making MS 65 and better are few and far between. Tied for finest known.
64941902-S50CMS6683Country Coins. This is a very tough middle date S-mint coin that comes nice as in this example, but is a very seldom-seen issue The strike on this coin is nearly full and luster is good associated with small bits of toning here and there. This issue is a bit overshadowed by the 1904-S and even somewhat by the 1901-S, but examples are few and far between in MS 64 and up. According to the David Lawrence texts, multiple collectors find the 02-S one of the last coins to fill their collection as they are difficult to locate. This example is tied with five others with two finer known.
6495190350CMS6650Duckor. This was a duplicate MS 66 coin from Duckor, tied with the finest known of the date. Having viewed both this coin and the one the Steve kept, it must have been a very difficult decision as both are nice and pristine examples. This is a date that does not seem to come flashy in high mint state grades, rather, they tend to come mostly toned. The surfaces are very nice, as one would expect for a coin graded MS 66. At one time I put together a small hoard of this issue with this MS 66, two MS 64's and two MS 63's. That represented a good percentage of all 1903 mint state coins at the time, as this issue has the lowest mint state population of all the Philadelphia issues in the entire series. The 1903 has a very low survival in MS 64 or better. This date can sometimes be purchased for little premium over common dates, and as such offers great value considering the rarity of mint state examples.
64961903-O50CMS65+16Friend. Very nice and lustrous white coin, well struck and without problems. This is a tougher date than some realize, being in the middle years of the set and not many collectors in the early 1900's were saving these coins with mint marks. Another great example sold to us directly by Dale Friend. We hold this coin with pride. Absolutely a coin obtained after making the acquaintance of Dale based on communications developed through the PCGS set registry. As with so many other dates in the series, finding a high-end 1903-O Barber half is very difficult. At MS 65+ it currently holds the position of the only example currently graded such, with only 6 coins graded higher at PCGS. Given our attention to Barber halves for 20 years, the population of 6 better coins might be slightly inflated.
64971903-S50CMS6721Laibstain. Hugon. A beautifully toned superb gem that is well struck and matches the coin described in the Emery-Nichols catalog, and considering the limited number of coins in MS 66 and up, this example most likely is from Emery-Nichols. Unfortunately, most coins sold at the time of the Emery-Nichols Sale have either small black and white photographs in the catalog, or no photographs at all. This makes trying to match such coins very difficult. In putting this set together, a few coins have been traced back to important collections, but with no designation on the holder when first obtained. Obtaining specific pedigree information is great fun and is very rewarding to us. Occasionally one can find an expert like David Akers, David Hall, or others who can remember specific coins and link them back to a specific set or auction, and that can be a tremendous help. Only one 1903-S is graded finer at MS 68.
6498190450CMS65+27Laibstain. Very nice coin. White and well-struck with minimal abrasions and booming luster. This coin was one we hoped would grade MS 66, but it did get a bump from MS 65 to MS 65 plus. A much tougher date in the series for two reasons. P-mints of the series were not saved in any quantity in uncirculated condition, because proofs were preferred by most contemporary collectors. Also, the middle years of the series saw fewer coins saved, perhaps due to loss of the novelty of the issue. This is especially true for the P-mints of 00-05. Try to find a gem 1904 and you will find out it is one difficult date. The nicest 1904 of which we are aware is the Dale Friend example, which he traded to Steve Duckor. That particular example is far superior to all others we have seen. It is also easy to forget that in 1904 a half dollar was a fair amount of money and may have represented a significant amount of a day's salary for many. Saving one as a collectible meant going without the fifty cents the coin was worth at the time. The fact that so few remain in original pristine condition attests to the lack of saving the coin by very mamy people at the time of issue.
64991904-O50CMS66+22Lawrence. Eliasberg coin from Clapp Estate. Very nice original color and decent strike for an O mint. This coin has beautiful coloration and is a very tough date MS 65 and higer, nearly as difficult as the 04-S, but not yet priced in the same leaque. We once owned the Price/Emery-Nichols coin in the same grade, but the toning on the Eliasberg example is prettier, confirmed by my wife and daughter. There are some very nice MS 65 coins that we have seen of this date. We were pleased that when submitted for Secure Plus service, that this coin received a 66+ grade. This specimen is clearly among the top 5 of the issue, and it is very difficult to find an example this nice.
65001904-S50CMS6730David Lawrence 1999. Norweb coin 1988. Peake coin 1955. THE KING! Tied for the finest known with two other coins, the James Stack/Steven Duckor Coin, and the Emery-Nichols/Thane Price coin. David Akers related to me that at one time he owned all three of these top coins, buying them from the auctions directly when not very many collectors or dealers were interested in the series. Having viewed all three examples in MS 67, the Norweb coin is our personal favorite. This example has beautiful original toning with blues and greens. Essentially no planchet roller marks are found. The 1904-S is considered a key date in the series in MS 63 and up. Only two PCGS MS 66 coins are certified and one is the Eliasberg/Friend coin. This example replaced the PCGS MS 62 (ex-ANACS 62) example that was bought early in the building of the set. Even an MS 62 coin is a real "keeper" in this series and served to hold a place in the set when it was being targeted at MS 63-64. The MS 62 piece was used for trade towards the purchase of the current coin from John Feigenbaum of DLRC. In the first book on Barber halves written by David Lawrence Feigenbaum, John's father, the 1904-S was the rarest Barber half in mint state. This position has been superseded by the 1896-O, but the 1904-S remains in the top 3 rarest (besides the 1892-O micro O) in the set. This coin is definitely the centerpiece for our collection. Price evaluations for the 1904-S are best gleaned from Coin Facts, auction records, and eBay sales as this date seldom comes up at auction and prices generally are much higher than many of the published lists. Trying to buy a decent example in mint state without such knowledge will likely be unsuccessful. Anyone putting Barber half dollar sets together in grades over VG or F will encounter the 1904-S as a more difficult date to find. In nice VF to AU the coin is priced strong, and because of this, many more have been certified in these grades than most other dates in the set. This skews the population numbers as is seen in other examples of rare coins (particularly noteworthy for the 1901-S quarter).
6501190550CMS66114Laibstain. A nicely toned original coin with sharp strike. This date is the last of the tough P-mints that start at 1899 and go through 1905, middle years that were not much saved in uncirculated condition.
65021905-O50CMS66+14Laibstain. A moderately toned and beautiful coin with good strike. In David Lawrence's original book on barber halves, this date was thought to be exceedingly difficult, but a number of higher-end gems have come to light and include MS 68 examples.
65031905-S50CMS6566Laibstain. Nice whiter coin with strong strike, intense luster and clean surfaces. Two top coins are MS 67's from Eliasberg and Price. The Duckor/Price coin has amazing luster, but has roller marks that we find a bit too distracting for our taste.
6504190650CMS6642Duckor. This is a very nice coin with original toning and good strike. It was a duplicate sold to me when Steve Duckor upgraded the coin with another for his registry set. The date is more difficult than most would think, but the population reports are very helpful showing the numbers and relative rarities of all the dates in the series. We are proud to hold this coin in our set with connections to the top set ever assembled by Dr and Mrs Duckor. The 1906 is more common than the 1905, particularly in lower grades. At the gem level and above, the 1906 is not seen very frequently.
65051906-D50CMS6682Laibstain. Creamy luster and well struck. First issue from the Denver Mint in the set. Denver mint issues are mostly fairly well struck, certainly better than most coins from New Orleans, but not as consistently strong as the Philadelphia and San Fransisco issues. Beginning in 1906, the Denver Mint made Barber Halves each year except 1909, 1910, and 1914. Superb gems are limited in number for 1906 as so many issues in the set are known to be.
65061906-O50CMS67+20Laibstain. Hugon coin. Tied for the finest known with the Duckor coin. Barber halves in grade MS 67+ and above are really uncommon. This coin truly deserves its grade and is a masterpiece. What a wonderful and beautiful original coin with amazing toning and sharp strike. When the set was first being assembled, the mint marked issues of 1906 were elusive to us, even in MS 63 and MS 64. Eventually we were able to find nice examples, and some of the difficulty finding the coins from 1906 certainly could be considered random, but the 1906-D, O, and S coins still hold a special place in our collection for the difficulty they gave us in finding the right examples.
65071906-S50CMS6810Laibstain. Hugon coin and formerly NGC 69 as the only mint state barber half to reach that grade at either major service. This is an amazing coin! Quite possibly this coin is from the Emery-Nichols collection, based upon my research. Any MS 68 Barber Half is noteworthy as there are only 11 or 12 known for the entire series in PCGS holders. The only coin in the series currently graded higher by PCGS is the 1905 that was in the Steve Duckor collection and attained MS 68+ (I have seen that coin and it is magnificent and deserves the highest grade as it truly is the finest!). Our coin is outstanding in quality and historically is interesting for marking the year and site of the San Francisco earthquake. It was featured, out of a multitude of high-quality Barber coins, as the coin featured on the cover of the Heritage auction catalog for the John Hugon Collection. The colors and toning are gorgeous and the underlying luster is superb, and virtually no marks are to be seen. It is the finest known 1906-S half dollar. It is arguably one of the top 10 finest quality mint state Barber half dollars extant. If indeed from the Emery-Nichols collection, the pedigree is top-notch.
6508190750CMS67+10Laibstain. Duckor/FUN 2004. A previous owner of this top-notch example of the issue kindly provided me with some additional older history. This coin was saved by a collector active in the 1930's and 1940's, a former judge, who saved coins in paper envelopes. He did not build complete collections, but found nice stuff, mostly EF and AU coins, and put them away. It was a collection he put together in the Pacific Northwest. This 1907 half was later graded and then consigned to the 2004 FUN auction. This story helps illustrate how seemingly random it was for most individual Barber Half Dollar coins to make it from the late 1890's and early 1900's to today in gem or better condition. A coin has to beat all odds to make it that long without damage, and to maintain good eye appeal. Although this issue is readily available in lower mint state grades, even up to MS 64 and MS 65, it becomes very uncommon in better gem grades. A beautiful coin and the finest known example. Another great story about this coin is that it was one I really wanted from Dr. Duckor's set. The bidding for this coin at the Heritage auction at the ANA in Boston in 2010 was going past where I was really comfortable, but my wife, sitting next to me attending her first ever coin auction, asked me if I wanted the coin, I muttered and nodded my head ever so slightly, she grabbed the paddle from my hand put it up, and voila, it was ours. Not just a bid, but a cut-bid. She caught on fast! Others watching found this mini drama quite amusing.
65091907-D50CMS66115Duke on eBay. One of a few picked up from the on-line auction site, eBay. This coin was in an old first generation "rattler" holder when we found it. We really like the look of this coin. The coin manifests beautiful reddish swirling toning, with original and clean surfaces. The 1907-D comes nice and is common in all conditions, especially circulated condition, but is available in MS 65 and above more than most issues in the entire Barber Half series. There are some well-known examples of this issue that are very pretty and are graded MS 66 and better. Although the number of gem and better 1907-D halves is high for Barber Halves, the population figures are tiny compared to many other series. The 1907-D is a reasonable selection for a mint state type coin of the series if one wants a coin other than the 1892 or 1915-D, the two most common mint state coins in the series.
65101907-O50CMS6720Laibstain. Friend. One of several coins formerly in the great collection of Dale Friend. This coin has even, pretty, greenish and aquamarine toning over lustrous surfaces and a strong strike. It is tied with one other for finest known. This coin is much more difficult in MS 67 than the 1908-O,. Many of the New Orleans coins in 1907 and 1908 have "mumps." This is a peculiar raised area on the cheek/neck area of the obverse that experts think is due to die "buckling." The location and the bulge seen on such coins reminds people of what the viral disease, mumps, looks like when affecting the parotid salivary gland. The 1908-O issue has many more examples in MS 67 and this may have to do with roll quantities saved early on, later dispersed.
65111907-S50CMS6643Labistain. Pryor/Friend. This coin has amazing luster and strike, but does have a few planchet striations, most notable across the cheek. These striations are from worn-out roller fingers that fed the planchets into the striking dies, and can be found especially in coins minted in San Francisco from 1902-1908, and perhaps at other times. The striking of the coin was not enough to "erase" these marks made on the planchets. Still, this is a very tough coin in MS 66 and above, with three tied with this coin and three graded higher. One of the better mid to late dates in the series. This coin is from the James Pryor set of half dollars that was essentially complete from 1794 up through 1963, having all dates and mint marks throughout. The Barber Half selections from this set included some very nice coins, some of which ended up in Dr. Steve Duckor's set, some in Dale Friend's set, and this one in our set. The San Francisco Mint coins collected by Pryor include some very nice coins. There are several other dates from the set such as the 94-O and 98-O that have been off the market since the 1996 auction, and they are likely the finest known of those issues. Their whereabouts are currently not known by us.
6512190850CMS6720Laibstain. This was the first MS 67 of the date graded by PCGS, but later a coin owned by Steve Duckor obtained from Stewart Blay was graded the same. It was one of the first MS 67 coins in the set. Nice luster and few marks on this coin, a tough later middle date in superb gem, tied for finest known. The 1908 represents a date that is a better date than the 1907 and 1909 that it falls between. When available at a common date price, we have always considered the 1908 to be a sleeper, and good value.
65131908-D50CMS66+24Laibstain. The last coin we needed in our set to get all examples in MS 65 or better. The achievement of having the whole set in gem or better was a major milestone with this set. Originally our target was MS 63-64, then we upped the bar to MS 65 or better. Along the way, many coins were bought and sold, a lot was learned, and the most important thing: it was fun! Our example is a blast white coin with great luster and strike. A very common coin in circulated condition, but in MS 65 and up is not so easy to find. One of the dates that makes a good type coin as it is plentiful in most grades from G to MS 64. We replaced our noteworthy MS 65 coin with an MS 66 example that became MS 66+ when the plus grading became available. It is now one of two in its grade with four finer examples graded.
65141908-O50CMS67141Laibstain. Duckor/Akers coin. This is a very nice 08-O and lacks the so commonly seen "mumps" that plagues many of the 1906-09 coins from New Orleans. The mumps is thought to be due to die buckling. IWe have also seen mumps in combination with die clashes; both relate to mint-made defects. The MS 67 grade has captured 13 coins, and one finer, but they seldom show up for sale leading us to believe that the population may be slightly overstated. At the MS 67 level, the 1908-O and 1892 account for the most common dates available, yet we have only occasionally encountered the 1908-O in MS 67, distinctly less commonly than the 1892 in this grade. The pre-ANA sale by Heritage in Rosemont, IL featured two other 1908-O halves in MS 67, a very unusual chance for two of the known specimens to be sold at one auction.
65151908-S50CMS66+12Laibstain. Nicely struck, good luster with overall pleasing toning. No specific pedigree known for this coin. A very tough date to find this nice, and this is a great example. This date sometimes comes with a soft or mushy strike. As a difficult date, often underappreciated compared to the 07-S, the 08-S really is a much better date than many think. Only two finer known at present.
6516190950CMS66113Heritage. One of our earliest purchases, this is a vibrant and lustrous coin with smooth surfaces. There are surprisingly few coins in MS 66 with only 2-3 finer. This exact coin holds a special place in our collection, being the first coin to be MS 65 or better (our first gem), reaching that status many years ago when the set had only about 40 coins out of the 74 (counting the 1892-O micro O variety), and most were MS 63 and 64. This is a common Barber Half in grades of less than MS 65, and at one time was quite tough in MS 65, but over the years many have become graded in gem, and a few better.
65171909-O50CMS6710Laibstain. Hugon coin. Very nice coin with sharp strike and original color, a prized coin from the Hugon sale. Often the coins minted in New Orleans were weakly struck, but this coin is certainly an a pleasant exception to the rule 1909, has significance in being the last Barber Half issued from the New Orleans mint, as that was the last year New Orleans minted coins. In the Barber half series, New Orleans struck coins each year from the outset in 1892 until 1909. This coin is the finest known example and one of our favorites. We would love to know the provence on this outstanding coin. Coins such as this one may well have come from famous old collections like Emery-Nichols or Norweb or James Stack. Whatever its past pedigree, it has survived over 100 years with great surfaces and a lot of character.
65181909-S50CMS67+10Laibstain. Hugon coin. Very nice originally toned example, and now the finest known; the coin has the inverted mint mark. This 1909-S Barber Half is simply an incredibly beautiful coin. Sharply struck and this is a date I have always liked. One of my first mint state Barber halves was an 09-S with proof-like features, bought as part of a 20th Century type set in an old Capital Plastic board. When submitted to PCGS it made MS 64 and has been owned by several other collectors, including Glenn Holsonbake. Proof-like barber halves are some of my favorites, but are not very numerous. Proof-like coins generally are some of the first struck off of new dies, the proof-like effect wears off the dies fairly quickly.
6519191050CMS6661Laibstain. A nice lightly toned coin with strong luster, good strike and clean surfaces. A bit tougher in MS 65 and above than one would expect for being a later date in the series, a quiet sleeper, and can often be picked up for little premium over the commonest dates in the series, at the MS 64 and MS 65 level. Thus it makes a nice choice for a Barber Half type coin with lower population and thus good value. One coin is graded a half point higher, the former Duckor coin, thence to Gene Gardner, and sold at auction in 2014.
65201910-S50CMS67+11Laibstain. A high-end gorgeous lustrous coin with sharp strike and nice overall color. All the features go together to explain how this coin received its lofty grade of MS 67+. One finer coin is known in MS 68 and it has been off the market for about 10 years or more. I was last aware of it being offered for sale by David Hall Rare Coins along with another MS 68 coin, a 1905-O. A tougher date in the late part of the series and they generally come well struck with strong luster. This is a date we really like and this particular coin has great character.
6521191150CMS66130Laibstain. A very pretty coin with good strong luster and nice toning. This is a very common date in circulated condition and in lower mint state grades up through MS 65. Surprisingly no coins have graded higher than MS 66. Toning is less common in the latter dates in the set. The Philadelphia issue of 1911 is the easiest of the three issues for the year to find in gem or better, although the 1911-D isn't far behind. This date serves as a potential type coin in grades up to MS 64 and MS 65.
65221911-D50CMS6684O'Connor. The 1911-D is a relatively common date up through MS 65. Like many coins in the set, this date tends to be overlooked in gem and above. Our example is well struck, has nice brown and russet toning and good luster underneath. A very nice example of the issue with only four graded higher.
65231911-S50CMS6652Laibstain. Probably from the Emery-Nichols collection. We bought the coin in a first generation "rattler" holder and it matches the Emery-Nichols catalog by description, and the small black and white photo also seems to be a match. Even golden and tan toning over nice surfaces with underlying luster. A better date tied with four others behind one finer example. A date we have always liked from the San Francisco Mint.
6524191250CMS6621Steve Duckor. Nice original lustrous coin. This date eluded any grading over MS 65 for a long time after the start of third-party grading. However, a few examples eventually have made it to MS 66 and one better. A very common date up to MS 64 and this issue of the Barber Half Dollar series makes a great type coin as it often comes lustrous and nice. It is a bit more difficult in MS 65 still, but was once very difficult to find in MS 65; it is especially hard to find in higher grades. We are happy to have this carefully selected coin that was in the Duckor set as an MS 65, later replaced by his coin, the MS 66+ coin, finest known. We hold this coin with pride knowing it was once in the Duckor collection and that the only coin better is the one Steve found for his set that made this coin his duplicate. During the many years of assembling this set, a great deal of time was spent looking at coins, watching auctions, studying available coins and their pricing. It was truly surprising when the first example graded MS 66 appeared several years ago, pushing past the barrier of MS 65 that lasted so many years. Now there are three coins at MS 66 and better.
65251912-D50CMS66+10Laibstain. Top pop coin. The coin has nice proof-like fields, a not too common attribute to mint state Barber halves of any date. The 1912-D is very common in circulated condition and serves as a great type coin all the way from good to gem; in mint state up through MS 64 it is very common and serves as one of the most available dates for a mint state Barber Half Dollar. It is not too difficult in MS 65, but is very tough in MS 66 or better. This coin, hand-picked by Harry Laibstain from many avaliable coins out there, is now graded at MS 66+, and as such is the single finest known. Having an MS 66+ as finest known is really hard to believe for this late-date issue as rolls of these were saved in uncirculated condition by some early dealers. It really is fun to collect these coins, study the history, peruse the populations of certified coins, and discuss these features with fellow enthusiastic collectors.
65261912-S50CMS6680Laibstain. Eliasberg from Clapp Estate. The coin was obtained directly from the San Francisco Mint by Mr. Clapp in 1912. The coin was then purchased by Louis Elisaberg as part of the Clapp Estate; he purchased the Clapp collection to fill out many holes his collection at that time. This is a very nice coin with underlying luster, strong strike and nice toning. This is one of four Clapp/Eliasberg coins in the set and there is no better pedigree, in our opinion. We feel priviledged to own and hold these historical coins as part of our set. Originally we purchased the coin without the pedigree, but Ron Guth of PCGS recognized this coin, and let us know it is from the Eliasberg Collection.
6527191350CMS6651Whitlow. An early purchase in the set when Larry was still very active with high-end type coins. A beautiful and evenly toned example with great eye appeal. The strike is strong and this is the first of the last three Philadelphia Mint Barber Halves, all with low mintages. The 1913, 1914, and 1915 Philadelphia issues are known semi-keys in all grades, from well-worn to gems. This is a very tough date, particularly in MS 64 and better. Previously had an MS 64 coin in the set. Tough date with only one graded finer, the Duckor example.
65281913-D50CMS6660Dolney on eBay. Nice even golden toning, none grade higher than MS 66. A date that is less available in gem and better than most would think. Until the auctions of Dale Friend and Steve Duckor, this is a date I have only rarely seen in gem and above. Finding a gem and certified example on eBay was quite surprising to us. Despite there being only two years between the issue of this coin and the extremely plentiful 1915-D from the same mint, there is no comparison in the survivorship of the 1913-D in mint state compared to the 1915-D. No 1914-D Barber halves were minted. This coin is tied for finest known and is a really nice Barber Half Dollar.
65291913-S50CMS6661Laibstain. Lightly toned and nicely struck coin with good luster. We had an MS 63 coin for a long time in the set, not being able to find an example to fit the set for nearly a decade. Truly not very easy to find in MS 65 and better, but a few are available with some searching.
6530191450CMS65+12Dave Weygant. Nice original toning and good luster. A very tough date in MS 65 and better, and a really good date in MS 64. This is an issue we really like due to the low mintage and lack of many gem and better coins. The low mintage has led to circulated coins to be hoarded by some. Only two finer graded than this nice gem. The 1914 is a lower mintage and, along with the 1913 and 1915 issues from Philadelphia, is highly prized in any condition, all the way from well-worn to pristine examples. The last three Philadelphia issues are minor key coins to the set in any condition, and there have been individuals that hoard these dates in circulated condition. We are unaware of anyone hoarding Barber halves in mint state condition.
65311914-S50CMS65+28Bauer, purchased via eBay. A nice lightly toned coin with good surfaces and underlying luster. The 1914-S is available in MS 65, but in any higher grades becomes very difficult.
6532191550CMS6631Laibstain. Last year of the series, and an issue of low mintage. More were saved of the later years, compared to the early years; the saving of the last year of issue is similar to the beginning of a new coin series as collectors realize that a coin design is no longer going to be produced, but the number saved at the beginning seems to be greater than at the end of the series. This may be due to the novelty factor. At the beginning we have a new coin design, at the end, a very familiar one. Surprisingly few gem and better 1915's from Philadelphia are known. Even at the end of the Barber Half Dollar series, most collectors still chose proof examples over the mint state circulation strikes. This one is well struck and with good luster. It is the second finest known example and a dandy. One of many coins in this long series that requires a long hunt to find in nice gem condition.
65331915-D50CMS66163Laibstain. A very common date even up through MS 66. Saved as the last date, and in roll quantities. This is a nice lustrous coin and a good example for the date. One of the most common dates encountered in circulated condition, too, and one of the most common found in F and VF. A good choice for a type coin, although 1892 is preferred by many as first year of issue. Such circulated coins could be found as late as the 1960's in circulation, attesting to the longevity of this series in commerce. My grandmother collected coins, mostly from circulation in the 1950's and 1960's and had about a roll of Barber Halves mostly grading AG to G. The challenge with a common date like the 1915-D is to find a really good example for the grade, best luster, strike, and overall eye-appeal.
65341915-S50CMS6720Laibstain. This coin is very lustrous and has nice fields. It is very tough in grade MS 65 and is downright nearly impossible to find in MS 66 and above. This is surprising given that it is the last S mint in the series and uncirculated rolls were apparently saved. Tied for finest known with the Duckor coin, a toned example. Steve Duckor looked long and hard to find his MS 67 example which ended up being one of the last upgrade coins he acquired for his set. This issue completes the set as usually collected, starting in 1892 and ending in 1915, with coins listed usually in order of mints where made, Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans, and San Francisco, as appropriate for each given year. Our set starts off with a beautifully toned 1892 Philadelphia issue and ends with a lustrous white 1915-S, both in superb gem MS 67 condition; bookends if you will. In comparing notes with other Barber Half Dollar collectors and knowledgeable dealers, the early years tend to have coins with the prettier toning, and later dates are more often hard to find with such nice toning; they are more often lightly toned to bright white. Some of these differences may be explained by how the coins were originally stored and maintained, knowing that many early dates were likely placed in paper envelopes or in wooden drawers or cabinets, with some of the later years stored as rolls for some time. We hope you enjoy looking at this set incuding the beautiful images from Phil at PCGS, and reading my descriptions of the coins. We are definitely passionate about our Barber Half Set, and it has and continues to provide great fun!
Great set, can't wait to see these in person at the Long Beach show. Thanks for making them available for the upcoming display.
Posted @ 9/1/2011 2:37 PM By illini420
Great looking coins and I have a half dozen favorites; thanks for sharing the images with us. One of these days, I have to make it up North and view the collection in hand. Congratulations on all the upgrades; I thought you max'd the set out the last time you submitted the whole set for regrade; guess not. Looking forward to see you in Chicago this August.
Posted @ 6/30/2011 9:00 PM By mfhayes
The tru view images are excellent, and really show off the luster and color. Congrats on the upgrades, and finally passing me up.
Posted @ 6/29/2011 9:33 AM By d2000f
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