1839-O half dollar brings $299,000 at Long Beach, California rare coins auction

Many numismatic collectors were looking forward a great deal to the Long Beach, California auction which concluded over the weekend (February 2-5).

As is turned out, the strongest sale was not that of an 1808 coin, but of another of the expected highlights from 1839. Indeed all three of the top lots were made close to the middle of the 19th century.

In reverse order the three top lots were:

An 1860 Mormon five dollar coin (MS62) is thought to be one of just three mint state Mormon $5 pieces in existence.

The coin bears the image of a beehive, which has a reference in the Book of Mormon, and also naturally represents such values as harmony and hard work. The coin sold for $155,250.

1839 O half dollar coin
The $299,000 1839-O half dollar coin

Narrowly beating it was the single finest proof 1869 $10 Eagle (graded PR67). A rarity as soon as the calendar turned to 1870, when only 25 proof examples were known, this extraordinarily beautiful coin sold for $161,000.

The top lot however was the aforementioned 1839-O half dollar (PR65). There are only four proof examples known of the issue, of which this is clearly the finest known, and the auctioneer predicted that it was due for a major sale at auction, despite a relatively modest history in the shadow of the 1838.

They were certainly proved right with eager bidding from 13 collectors resulting in a final price of $299,000.

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