Proof coins from the mid-19thcentury are among the most under-appreciated issues in numismatics. Proof issues of all denominations were minted sporadically until 1858, when it is generally believed that the sale of proof sets to individual collectors at a small premium began under Mint Director J.R. Snowden. With this landmark change in the mentality of the US Mint to work with collectors, a new segment of the hobby slowly developed and grew.
During this new era of coin production, the mintages of the Proof Seated Half Dollar series, “soared” from mintages of 15 or fewer to 100 coins in 1858 which is marked as the beginning of the collectible set. They were struck yearly through 1891, spanning from the Civil War all the way up until the very end of the 1800s, a tumultuous time in American history.
Even with the increase in proofs minted, the largest mintage was still only 1,355 pieces in 1880. Not a cheap or easy collection to complete, there are just seven active sets on the PCGS Set Registry. D. L. Hansen’s collection has been in the top spot since 2017, but before Hansen entered the scene, the race was between the Perfection and the now retired Chrismor sets. The Hansen Collection actually acquired the Chrismor set and improved upon it, which allowed the Perfection set to currently occupy second place overall.
The Perfection Collection of Proof Seated Liberty Half Dollars may be second overall but is actually ranked as the #1 PCGS Registry Set for the series with CAC approval. While there are individual pieces graded finer than some of the examples, the quality and eye-appeal are nearly unmatched. With 34 of the 35 coins in the set earning the coveted CAC seal of approval, it would be impossible to complete a collection with a greater desire for quality.
The cornerstone of DLRC’s Weekly Internet Auction #1145 ending on Sunday, November 29th, this collection offers quality, eye appeal, and perfection in every coin.
One of the premier pieces of the collection is the stunning 1878 50c PCGS/CAC PR68CAM. This beautifully toned example is the only PR68 at PCGS regardless of designation with no examples finer. Seafoam green around the obverse edge fades gently into a rose and golden center, complemented nicely by the blue and gold reverse. When factored in with the incredible technical grade and appealing cameo contrast, this gem is sure to be the highlight of any set. The first known sale of this example was back in August 1992 and it sold most recently in 2016 for $42,300, setting the record for the date.
Another noteworthy lot is the 1858 50c PCGS/CAC PR63+CAM. With a mintage of 100-300 coins depending on the source, the 1858 saw the lowest mintage of the standard series. Only two cameo pieces are graded finer at PCGS. This example is very clean and white with strong cameo contrast and nicely reflective fields. A must-have first year issue, this piece is worth a serious look for anyone looking to build or improve their registry set.
Take a look at the full Perfection Set below and be sure to get your bids in before the auction closes on Sunday November 29th beginning at 8:00pm EST. These pieces may not be back on the market for a very long time!
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