Eliasberg's Superb Prooflike 1851 Half Dime
Valentine 1 : Date high, with 18 touching and 51 penetrating the base.
Struck from freshly polished dies showing fine, parallel die polishing lines obverse and reverse. Fully struck with every star bold and Liberty’s exposed left foot finely detailed. Toning is exceptional, with bright, pastel shades of green, blue, rose, and gold backlit with lightly reflective fields.
1851 is considered to be a fairly common issue among Stars Obverse Liberty Seated Half Dimes with more than 20 coins certified as MS66 and better by PCGS, and five MS67s included in the CAC Census. However, this appears to be the only Gem Mint State 1851 Half Dime remaining with original, natural surfaces, as every other available coin has been dipped to an artificial white, including the PCGS MS67+. Numismatically speaking, maybe we should begin designating coins such as Gem 1851 Half Dimes as “nearly extinct in the wild”.
While there are currently no conclusively ‘proof’ 1851 Half Dimes, this Eliasberg specimen has been considered a ‘proof’ by past cataloguers. However, given that the obverse fields show remnants of die clashing, and are now filled with fine polish lines, it is more likely that the reflective fields are incidental rather than purposeful.
Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Bowers and Merena, May 1996, lot 981 @ $20,900 as “Proof-66”; to Eugene Gardner; Heritage Auctions “Eugene H. Gardner, Part III”, May 2015, lot 98171 @ $8,813 as PCGS MS67 #6565008 to Joseph O’Connor (OCNUMIS).