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1850 Half Dollar

EddiEddi Posts: 365 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 15, 2022 7:22AM in U.S. Coin Forum

I bought this coin at a Stacks auction sometime in the late 80's. It was bright at first, and has toned somewhat over the years.
As you can see, the toning is limited to the periphery and to areas around the devices.
It was described as ex another auction from the late 70's.

What do you think of this coin? what are the chances that it will be graded 'straight' ?

The sale description did not mention a cleaning, and accordingly show no signs of cleaning or hairlines, other than the circulation or handling marks, as can be seen in the pictures.

Looking forward to your comments.



  • braddickbraddick Posts: 22,516 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Would I be shocked if it straight graded? No.
    Would I be surprised if it didn't? No.


  • EddiEddi Posts: 365 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @braddick said:
    Would I be shocked if it straight graded? No.
    Would I be surprised if it didn't? No.

    Thank you, but not being a native english speaker I may miss the fine points of what you are saying. Do you mean the chances that it grades are 50/50 ??

  • braddickbraddick Posts: 22,516 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd place the odds at 70/30.
    More likely, it will not straight grade, yet a fair chance it might.


  • TPRCTPRC Posts: 3,734 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 15, 2022 11:07AM

    It does look like it has been cleaned, though not harshly so and, as you noted, it shows no hairlines. It has retoned. It looks like the luster is impaired somewhat, particularly in the right field. I think it has a better than 50% chance of getting a straight grade of 55, or 53. I would send it in if it was mine.


  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It looks to me like an AU53 and I think it will straight grade. Might get details cleaned, but I think not. Good luck and let us know. Cheers, RickO

  • fathomfathom Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭✭✭

    First, it is a semi key and tough date in the series so should be encapsulated.

    Second, yes it has been wiped probably a few times, most likely will not straight but could without in hand exam.

  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,424 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is a slippery slope...

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is obviously cleaned and will not straight grade.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • CommemDudeCommemDude Posts: 2,172 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It has been cleaned but without hairlines, I think it will straight grade, but at a number you might not like.... despite the minimal wear it appears to have no traces of luster left and it could grade EF45+

    Dr Mikey
    Commems and Early Type
  • ElcontadorElcontador Posts: 7,373 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Coins like this either get bagged or are deemed to be "market acceptable" and are often net (down graded) because of this.

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  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    if you send it out, please post results.

    i'm in a different camp than most or all that have posted.

    imo, that hazy stuff is what looks like came from the mint and they put the flans into boxes/tubs of it or whatever to prevent coins from sticking to dies. aka mint grease. it is possible they put it onto the dies and/or. (i've had some disagree with me on this)

    it is usually accompanied by toning NOT being able to get into those areas but it can easily be dipped away (as well as the toning in this case). i'm not 100% certain if acetone affects it much (provided it is what i think it is). i am also NOT sure if coin doctors found a way to put stuff on a coin to look like that to give it more of an original look. i really don't recall ANY discussion about this during my tenure or perhaps just 1-2 times at most.

    the lighting is making this coin look rather peculiar.

    since it isn't my money or my coin, i'll say straight grade 55.

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  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,356 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CommemDude said:
    It has been cleaned but without hairlines, I think it will straight grade, but at a number you might not like.... despite the minimal wear it appears to have no traces of luster left and it could grade EF45+

    Almost my thoughts exactly. I'd put 40% on the straight grade, 60% on details, and if it gets a grade, it'll be a net grade number

    Based on your images

    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

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  • NumisOxideNumisOxide Posts: 10,940 ✭✭✭✭✭

    From the photos looks XF details, cleaned

    Tough date!

  • lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,477 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Tough date, but that is not a pretty coin. The surfaces appear to have no remaining luster and the toning that was left (assuming post dip) is distracting to me. It could be deemed Market Acceptable and straight grade... definitely a roll of the dice... but it would not be a coin I'd bid on...

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  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,257 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would take the chance.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • logger7logger7 Posts: 7,768 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Did the Bowers auction have any grade on it? I'd agree with a likely straight grade if it has luster commensurate with the grade which cleaning tends to wipe out. $1000 or so in AU and $1450 in 58.

  • semikeycollectorsemikeycollector Posts: 829 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool coin. Very scarce date. I don't think it will straight grade. Still attractive.

  • ElmerFusterpuckElmerFusterpuck Posts: 4,544 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very tough date, took me years to find a nice one. It does have a shot at a straight grade, but more of a shot of getting a details grade.

  • JBNJBN Posts: 1,750 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The pictures make the fields appear dull/very low luster.
    You say that there are not any hairlines at any angle.
    It has XF/AU details, but without significant luster......

  • EddiEddi Posts: 365 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 16, 2022 4:15AM

    It was a long time ago, but I do remember that the coin was graded AU50 by Stacks, and no mention was made of a cleaning. I would not have bought it otherwise.

    This coin was in fact mentioned in a Coin World article about this auction, referencing a previous auction, years earlier, where it had appeared. I was surprised by that.

    I have the coin at the bank now, but if I recall, it does have some amount of surface luster. My pictures do not reflect that.

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,033 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think that the coin should get a straight grade because I don’t see a pattern of hairlines. It should not grade any higher than AU-53, but given the effects of grade-flation on the AU-50 grade (It’s now the old EF-45.) it might get a 55 or even 58.

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