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Interesting 1837 McCloskey-3 Half Eagle in Chicago ANA Auction

Another exciting ANA Convention is underway and Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to be able to offer an impressive variety of coins in our official World’s Fair of Money auction. Many collectors are talking about the legendary John J. Ford, Jr. Collection and our stellar Rarities Night offerings, but don’t let the excitement of these sessions cause you to overlook the rest of the auction! Many treasures are just waiting to be picked up by savvy dealers and experienced collectors alike.

One such example is an impressive Mint State 1837 half eagle of an extremely challenging die variety, which will be crossing the auction block on Friday, August 16 as lot 5161. Bold, lustrous, medium orange-gold surfaces exhibit full mint bloom and solid, unbroken luster on the high points. The strike is crisp save for some weakness at the viewer’s left side of the reverse eagle and shield. Marks are minimal to the unaided eye and the overall appearance is choice for the grade.

When it comes to numismatics, the story is often half of the appeal – and this coin certainly has an interesting one. This particular specimen was purchased on July 20, 1956 for $82.50 from New Netherlands Coin Co., Inc. of New York City of which John J. Ford, Jr. (under contract with Charles M. Wormser), was the most prominent figure. Two old envelopes accompany the lot, one from New Netherlands and the other from an unnamed source. Both are covered in writing. For instance, the front of the NN envelope reads: "Discovered in 1951 by Bullowa," but see Breen’s recollection of the discovery in the notes below. The back reads: "Very Rare, this coin may [be] one of 3 finest or the Finest." The other envelope contains much the same information, with more emphasis on the rarity of the variety.

Also Breen-6513 (Encyclopedia, 1988): "Small Date. Very rare. Single forelock; no berry. In date, 1 less tall than 8; knobs of 3 close together; date high, closely spaced. Discovered by John H. Clapp, first published by David M. Bullowa, NUM 10/49, page 612. Usually in low grades." With a great story and impressive quality, this pleasing rare variety Classic half eagle should see spirited bidding on Friday. We hope to “see” you at the auction whether in person, over the phone, or online!

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