||August 2019 ANA U.S. Coins Auction Rosemont, IL
||Top-Pop 1936-S Boone Bicentennial Half
1936-S Boone Bicentennial. MS-68 (PCGS). CAC.
Undeniably original peripheral toning of gold, rose and green offset heavily frosted and largely dove-gray colored surfaces on both sides of this tremendous example. Sharply struck devices, intense satin luster and virtually pristine fields confirm the quality as judged by PCGS and verified by CAC.
Minted for five years, the Boone half dollar saw production 1934 to 1938. Designed by Augustus Lukeman, the obverse bears the portrait of Daniel Boone, while the reverse shows Boone with a depiction of Chief Black Fish.
The Classic Commemorative Half Dollar series is rife with tales of profiteers with limited interest in commemorating anything at all, but more interest in taking advantage of the collecting public. Perhaps one of the best stories involves Frank Dunn, the official distributor for the Boone Bicentennial halves whose actions were the catalyst for the great commemorative boom of 1935-1936. After sales of the regular 1935 Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco coins had been well underway, Dunn ordered from the Mint some special varieties of the same three issues, but with the small date "1934" on the reverse. For the Philadelphia issue he had 10,000 made, but for Denver and San Francisco just 2,000. These were advertised for sale in the autumn, with publicity in New York City through the newspapers. Later, advertisements appeared in The Numismatist and elsewhere. According to Dunn, the excitement was so great in New York City that he was completely sold out. By the time that collectors had a chance to order, no more were available. The price for the two Boone issues went from $3.70, the issue price (high enough, by the way), to about $50 per set, then even higher. There were cries of anguish among collectors who had been left out. Marvelously, Dunn just happened to have a few more sets for sale later, at the advance prices, claiming that he had bought some back from those who were lucky enough to buy in the first place. However, investigation of the matter, played out over a long period of time, revealed that Dunn sold relatively few sets at his original price, keeping the profits for himself when the market advanced. A fake account of the situation was provided by Dunn to The Numismatist and other pronouncements were given, also false. Things went from bad to worse for Dunn, deservedly so, to the extent in which he had certain properties transferred over to his wife's name, in view of threatened law suits. However, Dunn carried on until 1938 as the distributor, having being responsible for 16 different issues of the Boone Bicentennial half dollar.
PCGS Population: 3; none finer.
PCGS# 9268. NGC ID: BYG2.
Click here for certification details from PCGS.