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

Dr. Peter and Janice Shireman Collection

Current Statistics
Rank 1
Weighted GPA 66.453
Complete 100.00%
Set Rating 66.453
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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.

A numismatic library is a helpful and important resourse to allow more in-depth study and enhance the collecting experience. For Barber half dollars, key literature includes auction catalogs of important collections such as Eliasberg, Norweb, Price, Pryor, Friend, Duckor, Gardner, and others. A few reference books specific to Barber halves have been written by David Lawrence and Kevin Flynn. The PCGS resource of CoinFacts is also an incredible source of information that has information on population reports, auction results, and much more.

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Dr. Peter and Janice Shireman Collection
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6461189250CMS67102102Laibstain. Troy Wiseman Collection specimen. The most abundant coin to survive in the whole series in mint state in all grade levels. Virtually 10% of each and every mint state certified grade by PCGS is made up of the 1892 Philadelphia issue. This issue is usually well struck, as is typical of most Philadelphia-struck coins of the era. The 1892 was saved as the novel first year of issue. The example in our set is a superb coin with multiple colors over intense luster, a very striking example; it stands out with its vibrant and swirling look. The date is popular with collectors as it is the first date of the Barber half series, and is readily available in all grades with relative ease, although nice F to EF coins are the most challenging to find. Harry's great eye for quality helped us choose this coin for our set. Only the Duckor coin in MS 68 and an MS 67+ example are graded higher. This is an especially important coin for a complete set, as it classically begins 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 graded in mint state, like the 92, 15-D, 09, 07-D, 07, 08-O, and 12-D account for a large percentage of all certified mint state examples. That means that there are a lot of the issues that make up the rest of the set that have few available. As you read our comments below, you will note how often it will be indicated that few coins exist for a given date and mint mark in mint state, particularly in gem condition. There is a variety known as the triple die reverse for this issue, with the finest known 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. Please share our joy and passion for this set of coins by looking at our descriptions and stories, and viewing the digital images.
64621892-O50CMS664242Laibstain. 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 especially 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 O50CMS652222Laibstain. A very rare variety first discovered within a year or two after striking. The micro O half of 1892 is a rare and valuable coin with less than 100 coins know. The finest is the MS 68 Eliasberg/Friend example, followed by the James Stack MS 67 example, then the two MS 65 coins. One MS 65 was owned by Dr. Steve Duckor and the other is the present coin. The origin of the small mintmark is believed to be from a die struck with the smaller size mint mark punch intended for the Barber quarter. Apparently the mistake was discovered after not that many coins were struck, but clearly many of the current examples entered circulation. A careful study showed that the actual mint mark used on the micro O half (asymmetric shape to the "O") was actually used on some 1893-0 quarters, but not 1892-O quarters. Many of the extant mint state examples have a proof-like appearance, and a small die crack through the date is seen in most examples. An important numismatist shared with me that there may actually be two different types of small mint marks, but this needs to be verified. We have owned 7 different examples of this rarity, including a coin found in an inexpensive AG/G set that certified as PCGS AG3. This coin is a cherry picker's dream as even in AG3 it is worth several thousand dollars.
64641892-S50CMS662222Barberlover. 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.
6465189350CMS66112112Laibstain. Very nice coin with amazing, pretty, colorful toning over smooth surfaces and nice underlying luster. Tied with eight other MS 66 examples, and one coin finer. The second year of issue and far less commonly saved in mint state than the inaugural 1892 coins. This date and mint typically comes well-struck, but not so for the New Orleans issue. Although there is no standard rule for dividing up the 24 year run of minted Barber halves, we find it useful to divide the coins using three equal time-frames. This yields the early years of 1892-1899, the middle dates of 1900-1907, and the late years of 1908-1915. Each of these groups has interesting characteristics such as survival rates, toning, and historical perspectives. There is a minor variety of the 1893 designated as the triple die reverse, but as of April, 2015, none have been graded by PCGS. The variety is listed in the complete variety Registry Set. From what we can tell, our example is not the triple die reverse.
64661893-O50CMS665050Laibstain. 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-S50CMS657171Laibstain. 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.
6468189450CMS66104104Laibstain. 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+1313Laibstain. Hugon. Magnificent, spectacular, this is a very special coin. One of our favorites with cameo-type contrast and unbelievable peripheral toning in this masterpiece. A real work of art, and a coin that bettered our MS 65 example. Not one in a 1000 mint state Barber half dollars looks like this. We wish they were all this gorgeous. Strikes can vary for this date, but strong strikes are out there. Higher grade examples exist, but it would hard for us to replace this coin with any other. There is one 1894-O half listed on the population report as MS 68 and this may be the coin formerly in the Pryor collection, and if so, it has intense proof-like surfaces. To our knowledge, the Pryor coin has not been on the market since it sold at auction in 1996.
64701894-S50CMS664141Laibstain. 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+3131Laibstain. Hugon. An amazing original gem with nice toning, great strike, and wonderful luster. Some green color in the toning is noted, and overall this is an outstanding coin. Only one finer coin known. The Hugon collection was put together by John Hugon with the help of a great dealer, Larry Shepherd. Coins paced in the Hugon collection set wire all high-graded and high-end coins. Mr Hugon also collected Barber dimes and quarters in mint state, and all three of these barber denominations in proof format. We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to procure some very nice coins from the cabinet of Mr. Hugon.
64721895-O50CMS663232Laibstain. 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-S50CMS672020Laibstain. Duckor/Price coin. Wonderful coin with beautiful colors, tied for the finest known with one other coin. Great luster and strike as expected for an MS 67 coin. The San Francisco strikes were often very strong, similar to the Philadelphia strikes. The 1895-S is a much tougher date in the early part of the set and examples above MS 64 are difficult to find. This is a real prize from the Steve Duckor set and the pedigree also includes Dr. Thane Price. Both Drs. Duckor and Price utilized Dave Akers as a key dealer and adviser to their sets. When Dr. Price sold his set at auction, Dr. Duckor bought many of the coins, and upgraded his set.
6474189650CMS66+2121Laibstain. 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-O50CMS653333Bowers 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-S50CMS65105105Laibstain. 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+1212Adrian 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+1313Laibstain. 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-S50CMS675050Laibstain. 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.
6480189850CMS66+4141Dale Friend, direct sale. One of the great benefits of the PCGS Registry is meeting other collectors with common interests. Naturally, show and tell often ensues. As collectors upgrade coins, duplicates may become available. We were sold this coin directly by Dale after he acquired a finer example for his set. The 1898 is considered a common date up to about MS 64, then it becomes scarcer in higher grades. We first purchased the coin as an MS 66, but it received an MS 66 grade upon regrading in the secure plus program. It is now tied with two other examples, and bettered only by the coin that Dale found to upgrade his set. The coin shows great originality and golden and russet toning over very nice surfaces, holding its luster, as expected, for the grade. Even after Dale sold his Registry set of Barber halves, he remains interested in our set and we communicate regularly.
64811898-O50CMS664141Laibstain. 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-S50CMS662222Laibstain. A very choice and nicely toned and well-struck coin. Good luster and tied with three others for second finest known. This is a beauty and is from the first year of the so-called Philippine dates. Many coins from 1898, 1899, and 1900 from the San Francisco Mint were shipped to the Philippines. Many circulated widely and many were cleaned improperly. As a result, finding nice high-grade circulated and uncirculated examples is difficult. As with so many coins in our set, we feel fortunate to have such a fine specimen of this very difficult to find coin. As always, many thanks to Harry Laibstain for helping us find this coin for our set.
6483189950CMS66+2222Laibstain. Hugon. A very nice example from John Hugon's amazing Barber half dollar set. Nicely stuck, pretty toning, and underlying mint luster all make this a very special coin. Despite the mintage being among the highest for the entire series, the date is very difficult to find in gem or better condition. Many collectors chose proof coins for their Philadelphia Mint issues, so finding such a nice example that has remained nice for over 110 years is nothing short of miraculous.
64841899-O50CMS66+3030Laibstain. Hugon coin. Very difficult issue in gem and better. Very nice example with mellow toning and very good strike for this New Orleans issue. Tied with two others as the finest known. Like so many coins in the set, gem 1899-O half dollars do not become available very often. The Heritage auction of the Hugon collection brought to auction many superb coins, and there are a significant number of coins in our set from the Hugon collection. The catalog of the sale is full of important information and holds a special place in our library of numismatic books and catalogs that relate to Barber half dollars.
64851899-S50CMS66+1313Whitlow. 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. Knowing the history of the individual issues in the series helps create an appreciation for the rarity of these coins remaining in gem and better condition. The United States went through a lot of changes from the beginning of the production of Barber coins in 1892, up to the ceasing of production of the halves in 1915 and the quarters and dimes the following year.
6486190050CMS66+1212Laibstain. A very pretty coin acquired 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 bettered by only two other coins per the population report. The Philadelphia coins from the middle years of the set are all very tough to find in gem and better condition. Remember that most of the early coin 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 mistreated in its 115 years of existence. Also, many coins carefully cared for can develop toning that is dark or otherwise not eye-appealing. This coin has beaten all the odds to survive to today. It is now safely stored in a very stable PCGS SecurePlus holder, which gives assurance that it will not be damaged. Though we do not no the exact reason that someone saved the particular set of uncirculated coins from 1900 from which came this half dollar, various possibilities exist. Perhaps it was someone's birth year, a wedding year, or someone wanting to commemorate the changing of the dates from 1800's to 1900's. We find that entertaining such notions highlights our experience in collecting and enjoying our coins. Coin collecting is a lot of fun.
64871900-O50CMS663030Laibstain. Richmond collection sold at auction by David Lawrence Rare Coins. Our coin is tied with two others as finest known of those graded by PCGS. 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. The 1900-O is one of our most favorite Barber half issues. 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. The 1900-O, along with the 1901-O and 1902-O are the most consistently poorly struck coins in the whole series. Very few coins are graded MS 65 and higher; the 00-O is 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. A look at the population reports will reveal that not many have been graded above AU 50.
64881900-S50CMS658484Heritage. One of only a few MS 65 coins in our set, the lowest grade remaining among the set, after much upgrading over the years. The 1900-S issue is very hard to find at or 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. A date that might have been saved with the change from 1899 to 1900, but numbers of surviving mint state specimens does not bear out such a notion. There seem to be no more saved for the 1900 issues than for the 1899 issues. This was in the middle of the series, the novelty of the new design had worn off, and the value of a half dollar was such that most people used the coins in commerce and didn't save them.
6489190150CMS672020Laibstain. A very tough to find coin in MS 65 or above. This is a middle P-mint date that no one seemed to save in mint state condition, as proofs were more popular. Very nice toning on this fabulous piece. Tied with the Duckor collection specimen as the finest known. It is amazing to think that this coin has a population of only 2 in MS 67 whereas the very highly-sought after 1904-S has three in the same grade of MS 67. Finding an acceptable example like this one for our set was extremely difficult and required a long period of looking. Hunting for coins makes the experience enjoyable It provides a focus to locate an example (fun of the hunt) and the satisfaction when the acquisition is made. Mostly, we approach the set with an attitude of it not being completed. This provides us with the attitude that other coins are out there that would be acceptable upgrades, and keeps the collector spirit alive and well. Some day, we will consider the set complete, just not yet.
64901901-O50CMS65+1313Laibstain. 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-S50CMS663333Lawrence. 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+1111Laibstain. 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-O50CMS663030Laibstain. Price coin. A very top-notch incredible example of an extremely difficult to impossible to find date in the series in gem and above. Beautiful original toning complements the striking, and very few marks are noted. Very likely this is the Emery-Nichols specimen. Dave Akers directed told us that this exact 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. Price, then Dr. Duckor to build magnificent Barber half dollar sets. Thus, all the factors, and the timing, would fit well with this coin coming from Emery-Nichols. The Emery-Nichols collection did not have a complete run of Barber halves in mint state, but contained many superb coins saved directly from the mint in the year of issue. Small black and white images of some of the coins are in the auction catalog. The catalog itself was an important acquisition for our numismatic library. It is difficult to match the small black and white catalog images and the limited descriptions with the actual coin. The 1902-O Barber half is one of the most notoriously poorly struck issues in the whole series, and finding a good or strong strike is challenging. There are some MS 64 examples we have seen that have nearly full strikes. Our coin has a very decent strike for this issue. It is tied with two others as finest known.
64941902-S50CMS668383Country 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.
6495190350CMS665050Duckor. 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+2525Friend. 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-S50CMS672121Laibstain. 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+2727Laibstain. 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 many people at the time of issue.
64991904-O50CMS66+2222Lawrence. Eliasberg coin from Clapp estate. Very nice original color and very decent strike for a New Orleans mint product. This coin has beautiful coloration and is a very tough date to find in MS 65 or better condition, nearly as difficult as the 1904-S, but not yet priced in the same league. We once owned the Price/Emery-Nichols/Gardner example in the same grade (MS 66 at the time), but the toning on the Eliasberg example is prettier, confirmed by my wife and my daughter. There are some very nice MS 65 coins that we have seen of this date. We were pleased that when submitted for PCGS Secure Plus service, this coin received an MS 66+ grade.
65001904-S50CMS673030David 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 and 96-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).
6501190550CMS667474Laibstain. 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+1414Laibstain. A moderately and delicately toned coin with a great strike. A coin from the middle dates that was just not saved in uncirculated condition to any great extent. Strikes for this issue tend to be better than for the 1900-1902-O coins. This is a lower mintage date that was found to be exceedingly difficult to find in mint state in David Lawrence's 1991 original book on Barber half dollars. Since that time, a number of gems and superb gems have come to market and the population has grown a little bit. There are two examples in MS 68. No other Barber half issue has more than one example in MS 68, including the 1892. Gem and better coins are still difficult to find.
65031905-S50CMS656666Laibstain. 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.
6504190650CMS664242Duckor. This is another coin purchased directly from Steve Duckor when he found an upgrade coin to his set. This is a very nice coin with original color and toning with a very good strike. This date is more difficult to find than most would think. The population report numbers at PCGS help establish the number of coins graded and the relative rarity when comparing the coins in the series. The Philadelphia issue of 1906 is the most common of the year in MS 65, but in MS 66 and MS 67 is very similar to the Denver, New Orleans, and San Francisco coins. We are proud to hold this specimen in our set as it has a connection to our friend, and fellow Barber half collector, Steve Duckor.
65051906-D50CMS668282Laibstain. 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+2020Laibstain. 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-S50CMS681010Laibstain. Hugon coin and formerly NGC 69 as the only mint state barber half to reach that grade at either major service. We still have the NGC 69 insert tag as a souvenir. This is an absolutely 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 high grade designation!). Some experts consider this 1906-S half to be as nice as the 1905 half just mentioned, but if not, this 1906-S half may well be the second finest mint state Barber half in existence. It is mentioned in the forward of the John Feigenbaum book on certified Barber coinage, by Mark Salzberg, as a very noteworthy and outstanding coin he remembers from the many thousands of mint state Barber coins he has seen and graded. 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 mint state and proof 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+1010Laibstain. 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-D50CMS66125125Duke 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-O50CMS672020Laibstain. Friend. One of several coins in our set formerly in the great collection of Dale Friend. This coin was obtained at the auction of Dale's set, a special coin we specifically wanted for our set. The coin is bathed in a pretty greenish toning over lustrous surfaces. The coin has a great strike. It is tied with one other for the finest known. This coin is much more difficult in MS 67 than the 1908-O. Many of the New Orleans coins produced 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 clinically. I can attest to what mumps looks like as my five brothers and I all had mumps on both sides when we were in grade school. Our coin does not have "mumps." "
65111907-S50CMS666363Labistain. 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 cover or "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. The 1907-S is 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 extremely 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.
6512190850CMS672020Laibstain. This was the first MS 67 of the date graded by PCGS. Later, a coin owned by Steve Duckor, that he obtained from Stewart Blay, was graded the same, and no others have graded at this level or greater since. It was one of the first MS 67 coins in our set, as we started with lower grade coins and upgraded along the way. This coin has very nice luster and and a very clean cheek. It is a tough coin in the middle series dates in gem and better condition. At times the 1908 is available at a common date price. We have always considered the 1908 to be a sleeper date, and a good value.
65131908-D50CMS66+3434Laibstain. 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-O50CMS67141141Laibstain. 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+1212Laibstain. 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.
6516190950CMS66113113Heritage. One of our earlier purchases (1996), 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-O50CMS671010Laibstain. 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+1010Laibstain. 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.
6519191050CMS667171Laibstain. 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+1111Laibstain. 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.
6521191150CMS66120120Laibstain. A very pretty coin with good strong luster and light and nice toning. The strike is strong as expected for a Philadelphia mint coin. This is a very common date in circulated condition and lower grades of uncirculated up through MS 65. Surprisingly, no coins have graded above MS 66, but this coin is tied with 12 others or fewer (depending on how many coins have been resubmitted, and thus counted more than once). Based on our experience over the last 25 years, the number of coins in the population report for this issue in MS 66 looks to be inflated. This coin serves as a great choice for a type coin in MS 64-66
65221911-D50CMS669494O'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-S50CMS665262Laibstain. 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.
6524191250CMS663131Steve 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+1010Laibstain. 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-S50CMS668080Laibstain. 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.
6527191350CMS664141Whitlow. 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-D50CMS664040Dolney 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-S50CMS666262Laibstain. 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+1414Dave 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+2929Bauer, 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.
6532191550CMS663131Laibstain. 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-D50CMS66+3030Laibstain. A very common date in the Barber half series, but it becomes difficult to find in MS 66 and above. This coin is an MS 66+ which ties it with one other coin as finest known. Great strike and luster are evident on this beautiful coin. This is one of the most plentiful coins in mint state in the series, and was saved in roll quantities when released. 1915 was the final year of issue and coins might have been saved as the final example of the type. This is a nice lustrous coin and a great example for the date. It can be found in circulated condition in grades up to VF and EF fairly easily, and serves as a type coin for virtually any condition. For true 20th Century type sets it is a reasonable choice. Some Barber halves made it in circulation to the 1950's, and were in very worn condition by then. My maternal grandmother saved coins from circulation in the 1950's and 1960's and had about a roll of Barber halves, mostly grading AG to G.
65341915-S50CMS672020Laibstain. 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!
Peter, you have carried on the tradition set by Dale and I!. Great set! Best of luck on your Heritage FUN Sale 2016! Steve Duckor
Posted @ 9/21/2015 3:04 PM By sduckor
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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