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.
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.
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.
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.