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Did You Know?

By Stack's Bowers Galleries

Author: Stack's Bowers Galleries / Thursday, March 01, 2018 / Categories: Did You Know?

Did you know Stack’s Bowers Galleries is featuring the Sutton Court Collection of Early Half Dollar Varieties in our upcoming official auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo?  Click here to read a message from the consignor.

Well over three decades ago I became completely captivated by the early half dollars of the United States.  I was fascinated by the simple yet elegant designs, the history and importance of this large silver denomination, and the wide range of varieties and types produced each year.  What started out as a type collection of early half dollars grew to a date set, and then elicited a full blown desire to obtain each variety, by Overton number, in the magnificent Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle series. 

I started by seeking choice, high grade examples of each date, then each major variety. This, of course, led to the minor varieties, and ultimately to progressive die states where I could find them.  Collecting in the late 1970s through the early 1980s was vastly different from collecting today.  It required personal visits to coins shops, participation in major auctions, scouring the bourse floor at coin shows, reading dealer ads in the press, and networking with fellow collectors.  There was lots of leg work and no online resources.  And there were no slabs — you actually had to know how to authenticate and grade on your own.  Using all the resources available at the time, I assembled a fantastic collection that achieved the goals that I had set.  The collection includes a lot of great type coins, some very famous coins with famous name pedigrees, many plate coins, and quite a few Condition Census items.  All major types of each year are well represented and many minor varieties are here as well.  Various die states, including some that were previously unknown, are included adding interest to the collection.  This is one of my favorite aspects: the massive die cuds and huge die cracks found on some of the coins, made by dies that should have been taken out of service thousands of strikes previously. However, in these early days, the Mint could not afford to do so. 

It is easy to see that this collection was a labor of love, fueled by a passion that is incomprehensible to non collectors.  Letting go, on the other hand, was one of the most difficult decisions that I have had to make (next to allowing my coins to be put into slabs). Yet I feel that it is time to share my longtime friends with my fellow collectors, knowing these numismatists will cherish these special coins as much as I have.  Anyone who loves early halves as I do will certainly find many coins here to fill holes in a collection or to upgrade pieces already owned. Enjoy them, study them, and take good care of them.  ​