Blundered Obverse Die, Ex ‘Boston' - Gardner
Valentine 1 : Blundered Obverse Die with an errant 18 punched in the Liberty’s lower drapery between the shield and drapery pendant.
The San Francisco Mint Half Dimes of the 1860s are all challenging in any condition above the middle Mint State grades, and 1866-S Half Dimes in Gem are legitimately rare with maybe a half dozen qualified survivors. PCGS reports a single example graded MS67, with four MS66s behind. The CAC Census includes four coins as MS66 and two as MS65, yet CAC counts both MS66s and the lone MS65 twice, leaving the true CAC populations as two MS66s – the ‘Boston’-Gardner and Simpson-Bender coins – followed by one MS65.
In the self-published catalogue of his collection, Gene Gardner noted “Vestiges of the misplaced digits Breen alludes to are present although it takes high magnification and some imagination to make them out.” Prior authors including Ahwash, Breen, and Blythe describe this “blundered obverse die” with an 18 first struck up, into the base, to the right of the shield.
Thankfully, today, we have access to online images which can be enlarged to the size of a large platter, and the lower thirds of that errant 18 are now clearly visible.
‘Boston’ Collection of United States Half Dimes; to Joseph O’Connor (OCNUMIS) privately in early 2003, as NGC MS66 #380269-006; to Eugene Gardner privately in November 2003; Heritage Auctions “Eugene H. Gardner, Part III”, May 2015, lot 98182 @ $7,638 as NGC MS66 #380269-006 to Joseph O’Connor (OCNUMIS).