Username Password
Email: Password:
Forgot password?    No Login?
Home Latest News Active Sales Active Auction Past Auctions Other Stuff Contact Sheridan

Sheridan Downey Numismatist - Coins

Mail Bid Auction 57

Auction ends on January 5, 2024 6:00 pm EST


Lot Number 58

Click coin to enlarge & see slabs

1794 -  O.107 R.5+ PCGS VF 20

Ex Dr. Charles Link

In the beginning ….   That is, when Overton published his 1st edition in 1967, there were 8 known die pairs from 1794.  The O.108 (then called “O-15.”) was unique.  (Nine or 10 are known today.)  The O.102 and O.107 vied for 2nd place, each with fewer than a dozen known examples.  In 1980 Robert P. Hilt II published his tome on die varieties of early U.S. coins.  He disclosed, described and proclaimed his unique 1794 O.109 to be the “Emperor of United States coins.”  Two years later Jules Reiver spotted another unlisted 1794, the O.110.  (A dozen or so have since surfaced).  Finally, in March 1993, Andrew Pollock came across the 1794 O.111 discovery coin while cataloging a sale for Bowers & Merena.  The O.109 (if we ignore a pair of copper die trials) and the O.111 remain unique.  Hilt’s O.109 sold for $705,000(!) in April 2015.  I purchased the O.111 for my friend Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Schertz in 1993 and later placed the coin in the Overton Collection, owned today by an anonymous collector.  With this short history in mind I offer a suggestion to those who would collect flowing hair half-dollars by die variety.  Do as William Sheldon did for large cents: treat extreme rarities, here, the unique 1794 O.109 and 111, as “NCs,” non-collectibles.  That leaves a manageable group of 9 die marriages.  At the front of the pack (in terms of rarity) are the O.108, O.110, O.102 and O.107.  

In volume 1 of his Early U.S. Half-Dollars Steve Tompkins noted that no uncirculated 1794 O.107s are known.  He added, “In fact, examples of this marriage are unknown above VF!”  That was true in 2015.  In April 2017 Heritage offered an example from Terry Brand’s estate graded NGC XF 45.  It stands first in the Condition Census.  (An AU “details” O.107 appeared in 2019.  It was corroded, scratched and cleaned.  In short, disgusting.)  The Link coin is likely #2 in the Condition Census.  Tompkins placed it ahead of Charles De Olden’s NGC VF 20 (Heritage Jan. 2008 FUN Show sale, lot 2828 @ $25,300).  Both are plated at p.33 of Tompkins’ book, the Link coin in first position.  It is light grey, evenly worn with some adjustment marks on the reverse.  Link purchased the coin from Harry Laibstain in November 2015.  Its earlier provenance is unknown.  

Estimate: $15,000 and up

Auction Ended

High Bid Maximum Bid Total Price
Reserve met
$15,000 $16,500

Please log in with an approved account to place a bid.

Sheridan Downey, Numismatist
4400 Keller Ave., Suite 140, PMB 398
Oakland, California 94605
(510) 479-1585

©2024 Sheridan Downey