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Executive Currency - Offering Rare Paper Money for the Connoisseur

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                            BRANCH  MINT  PROOF


   --among the rarest of all numismatic items—

       PROOF struck at the NEW ORLEANS MINT


                           1898-O   PROOF



            acquired by this seller directly from the March, 1991 Bowers and Merena sale, lot 440

lot description (taken verbatim from the auction catalogue) is:


1898-O Proof-62. A rare and desirable numismatic item accompanied by a letter of authentication from Walter Breen on Institute of Numismatic and Philatelic Studies stationery, dated September 9, 1981.  The letter states:

        ‘This certifies that the accompanying coin is the one I examined

at the ANA Convention in New Orleans, and that I unhesitatingly

    declare it a genuine 1898-O half dollar and a Proof striking.

I made this deduction on the basis of striking quality, and

            surfaces compared to those on genuine Philadelphia half dollars of the

            same period, and genuine O Mint business strikings.  The only difficulty

            met with was the evidence of a cleaning, but this was not nearly enough

            to throw any doubt on the coin’s status.

                Only two other reports are known to me of similar coins of

            this date and mint, not impossibly one or both may allude to the same

            piece: 1. (New England’s Public) Sale, II: 1140 (1976). Possibly the same

            coin offered here. 2 (Kaplan Numismatic Gallery) Sale Dec 16-17, 1943.

            Lot 838.

            Respectfully submitted,

            Walter Breen’


As stated in Breen’s letter, this coin has been lightly cleaned, although evidence of this is extremely difficult to locate.  Lightly toned in lovely shades of pale gold, the sharp and frosty

                  central devices stand boldly out from the deep mirror fields. Here is a numismatic rarity,

                  attested to by one of the finest numismatic scholars of our time.  An exciting opportunity

                  for the advanced Barber half dollar specialist to add this great rarity to his/her collection.”



                                    This coin was later examined by Jonathan K. Kern, who graciously rendered his handwritten opinion and shared his vast numismatic expertise in the following statement:


         ‘I would describe the coin as: 1898-O Barber Half, very likely a proof

        or specimen striking. Proof ? (60) obv. Field corrosion spot, light



This coin has reposed in the same Lucite snap-lock as sold by Bowers + Merena.  It is accompanied by the auction “flip”, the aforementioned letters, page from auction catalogue, and invoice.


A rarity of the highest caliber, certain to catapult the status of the collection it enters next.  This BRANCH MINT PROOF has remained off the market since we purchased it 23 years ago.


In a sense, both PCGS and NGC were relative infants when this crossed the auction block in 1991.  Very few (if any) “slabbed” coins appeared in the sale.


This piece certainly bears the hallmarks of a proof: the planchet appears to have been specially prepared/polished, the rims are upset higher than typical business strikes, the pressure exerted in striking this specimen—or the intentional use of two strikes—has created ‘squared off’ denticles, crisp letters, and a mirror finish to the planchet, even in recessed areas.


Please carefully read and fully understand the following paragraph BEFORE bidding:


We have no reason to doubt the statements in the Bowers + Merena auction catalogue.  However, grading continues to change over time as does discussion/debate over the method of manufacture.

As Branch Mint Proofs have ALWAYS been a subject of disagreement, there will be ABSOLUTELY NO RETURNS for a dispute of this matter (proof vs business strike).  We will forever stand behind the authenticity of this coin as a genuine 1898-O Barber half dollar; however, we cannot guarantee what another professional numismatist or grading service will declare about either the grade (uncirculated versus circulated) or method of manufacture (mint state versus proof versus specimen).  These terms are a binding part of this auction.




                                              for  additional  information, please phone:  

                                                      Frederick  J.  Bart of BART, Inc






 Although we believe our price is very fair in the current market, it is our desire to place quality items into appreciative collections.  Feel free to make an intelligent counter-offer