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Have You Ever Seen A Coin & Thought "I Have Something Really Similar..."

TomBTomB Posts: 20,298 ✭✭✭✭✭

Have you ever seen a coin and thought to yourself that you have something really similar in your own collection...or maybe not quite so similar as you initially remember? This evening I was doing some research and came across a Barber half dollar that looked mighty familiar to me, even though I realized I had neither owned it nor examined it in-hand. The "new" coin was close enough a match to what I recalled of mine that I opened up both images and was a little surprised at some of the similarities.

The coin in question is a 1909 Barber half dollar. The issue itself is pretty darn generic for the Barber half dollar series and is relatively common (again, compared to other dates within the series) through gem. These coins were issued well before the advent of US Mint Sets and most contemporary collectors either did not collect full sets of coins and/or did not collect mint state pieces and/or did not collect half dollars as this was a lot of face value to salt away and even more to put away if uncirculated coins had to be procured. As such, although the date is common within the series, I wouldn't exactly call it an easy date to find in a PCGS holder in gem, with only 65-coins graded MS65 and 19 graded higher.

The coin I came across is a PCGS MS67/CAC and is a pop 1 coin at PCGS with none graded that high at NGC. It has a PCGS value of $52,500 and was sold via Legend Rare Coin Auctions less than a year ago for $44,650. That's a chunk of change! Oh, yes, it also currently resides in the DL Hansen Barber Half Dollar Collection. As you can imagine, it is pretty darn nice. My coin, on the other hand, is only a PCGS MS65/CAC OGH that I acquired about a decade ago in a dealer-to-dealer transaction at the FUN show. I saw the coin that I currently own in a dealer's display case, but the dealer had stepped away and left the case locked and under the watchful eye of his dealer-neighbor. I called the dealer up and asked him to return as the dealer-neighbor and I chatted and I immediately pointed to the coin in question and purchased it without hesitation after only a few moments of examination. The price to me was just over $3,000 and this was only a tiny bit below what a PCGS MS66/CAC coin would cost for the date and was about $1,000-$1,250 more than what a far, far inferior PCGS MS65/CAC coin would have cost. In either case, the PCGS MS66/CAC and PCGS MS65/CAC coins would have been less nice, in my opinion, than this PCGS MS65 OGH (it hadn't yet been submitted for a CAC sticker) coin.

Since then I have sent the coin to CAC where it received its sticker. Now, it has a permanent place, at least for as long as I have any say in it, in my collection. I'd like to caution everyone that you won't see twin coins and you won't be scratching your heads as to which coin graded higher. The DL Hansen coin has cleaner overall surfaces and appears to possibly have "harder" surfaces that might lend a PL-ish appearance to the coin whereas my piece has perhaps a more pebbled or textured field that may produce better luster when rotated under a light. However, what initially caught my eye about the DL Hansen coin is the toning. Both the colors and the pattern of toning are unusual for the date and also unusual for the greater population of extant, MS Barber half dollars. These coins were not sold in mint sets and when they haven't been dipped they often are found with intermingled shades of blue-grey or with black spots or covered in various amounts of brown speckles. The two coins in question could hardly be called "rainbow", but they have more pronounced colors and more variety of color than the great bulk of mint state Barber half dollars. They also have color in similar areas with both pieces being essentially untoned behind the portrait of Ms. Liberty and having the obverse toning show most clearly along the rim in front of the portrait while the reverses are mostly untoned with the color predominantly along the rim and lower portion.

Their somewhat similar appearance, or strongly similar appearance based upon the series, makes me wonder if these two coins might have spent significant time together somewhere decades ago only to be separated during a collection liquidation or estate sale. While that might be fun to surmise, I have absolutely no evidence it is the case and, absent an old auction catalog that could place them together, this could never be more than an entertaining theory. Regardless, while the DL Hansen coin is clearly the higher graded and more valuable piece and likely has greater eye appeal for most folks, I think they make a nice pair-

PS: A word of caution! After I typed this all out and had to upload the images, I decided to copy the entirety of the text in case it disappeared when I loaded images and that is exactly what happened! Thankfully, since it was all copied, I merely pasted it above the images after they were loaded.

Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson



  • MeltdownMeltdown Posts: 8,538 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Both are very beautiful. I like the price point on yours quite a bit better! B)

  • CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,274 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, very similar appearance yet there is a difference in how well the right obverse stars are struck. For some reason that caught my eye immediately. Lovely coins!

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The similarities are certainly interesting.... Cheers, RickO

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,753 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No, but I did that with a pair of glasses once. Walked in with my prescription, and a beautiful young lady in the eyeglass store was all over me. "Oh, I think you'd look handsome in this pair..." Well, I guess Im not used to that much attention, because I looked no further. :o
    I buy them and, of course, after I pick them up I notice they are exactly the same that are currently on my face.
    (Much to the chagrin of my wife.) :#

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 1,926 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 6, 2023 7:40AM

    Nice write up Tom. I've thought the same thing many times when studying Barber coins in mint state, how many of the dates and mm combinations have similar toning patterns, and colors. In the proofs, certainly, because they were sold in sets, and that original toning almost serves as a fingerprint that one can use to re-assemble undipped proof coins. The 1909's are a great coin, and seem to come super lustrous from the factory. Considered a common "type coin" in the Barber world, yet the numbers of high grade survivors are still low in the big scheme.

    Here's mine: Ex. Hugon, MS-66 CAC, and not as pretty as yours.

  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,298 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you all for taking the time to read and respond to my rather long writeup that had so few images at the end as a payoff. To echo the point made by @Eldorado9, I think the reason this pair of 1909 Barber halves stood out to me so quickly was because I have looked at and studied this series for so many years. Therefore, when something is unusual, even if it might not be unusual for other series, it gets noticed pretty quickly.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

  • NicNic Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome post Tom! My only complaint is that it was not long enough!

    Three beautiful 09's. Philly issues are underrated.

    I will try to post a #2 "Really Similar" thread soon. It involves David Weygant, Sunnywood, Pogue, and Eldo's icon. Or not. :) I am sure you know all the folks I mentioned.

    Thank you again.

  • BarberianBarberian Posts: 2,741 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 6, 2023 1:28PM

    Yes. That happened to me just recently here. @No_Headlights posted an 1883 SLH that was strikingly similar in toning color and pattern to my 1881, and it turned out their 1883 PCGS Cert. # was only 198 numbers away from that of my coin. CAC liked both coins as well. Did they spend a long time together in someone's Dansco?

    Here's my 1881.

    Here's No Headlight's 1883.


    3 rim nicks away from Good
  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,298 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow! You're not kidding about them being similar! The fact that they have such close cert numbers also suggests, as you have written, that they may have lived together previously. Nice catch.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

  • PipestonePetePipestonePete Posts: 1,893 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a 10-Shilling Colonial Currency that is very similar to a 15-Shilling Colonial Currency "COPY" that has recently popped up on Ebay. The Serial # is identical and the signatures match.

  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 1,930 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 6, 2023 5:09PM

    Yep, saw the twin of my 73-cc quarter recently. Same grade and original problem free surfaces, which is almost impossible to find on 1870-73cc quarters. Mine is the first one. Second one from Heritage archives.

  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,363 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting coins @TomB ! Thanks for sharing!!

    I can certainly see why you did a double-take, even though side-by-side they aren't quite twinsies ... but they might still be kissin' cousins! ;):D:p

    Both are super attractive, and both, zooming in, look spot on graded.

    @Barberian If I was a betting man, I'd say they were neighbors somewhere at one time.

    @Manifest_Destiny That is a pretty amazing similarity for such a scarce issue. I like yours better!

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

    Todd - BHNC #242
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 44,865 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I remember being at a coin show once and seeing a blast white 1881-S Morgan dollar in a PCGS MS65 slab that looked very similar to one that I had in my collection. ;)

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 8,672 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 7, 2023 4:09PM

    Thanks for the interesting read. :)

    As you stated, the Hansen piece has technically better surface preservation but the eye appeal or toning of yours is equal or better.

    And YES, I can see the similarities.

    Both are really nice Coins!!!

    “I may not believe in myself but I believe in what I’m doing” ~Jimmy Page~

    My Full Walker Registry Set:


  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 8,401 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Curious mental muscle memory is how I frame this topic. The more coins I study, the more details I notice. Thanks for your vivid description. Peace Roy

    BST: endeavor1967, synchr, kliao, Outhaul, Donttellthewife, U1Chicago, ajaan, mCarney1173, SurfinHi, MWallace, Sandman70gt, Ricko, mustanggt, Pittstate03, Lazybones, Walkerguy21D, coinandcurrency242 , thebigeng, Collectorcoins, JimTyler, USMarine6, Elkevvo, Coll3ctor, Yorkshireman, CUKevin, ranshdow, Jzyskowski1, CoinHunter4, bennybravo, Centsearcher, braddick, Windycity, ZoidMeister, mirabela, JJM, RichURich

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Every time I see a blue merc in an NGC fatty I think it looks like mine, and, notably like the one you don’t have 😉

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Also, a week or two ago I was looking through an old auction catalog and spotted a colonial note that I thought looked familiar. This time it was because I now own that note, and extra ink making one digit in the serial number fatter made it a bit memorable.

    It’s definitely happened with coins, too… plenty of near matches out there.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I once got pulled by TSA and went to the back room for my bag to be searched. The agent was super curious (to the point of annoying his partner who told him to hurry up and let me leave).

    When he saw these two one after the other, he asked if they were stored in the same bag since they were minted. Had to break it to him that that was highly unlikely… go ahead, spot the difference 😂

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
  • breakdownbreakdown Posts: 1,925 ✭✭✭✭✭


    I have often seen a coin for sale or on display in one of the forums and thought that used to be my coin. But on further review, I found out otherwise.

    What happens more often is I see a coin and I think that's a Tom Bush coin. The look of coins you often had in your inventory with a certain look of originality that you favored.

    "Look up, old boy, and see what you get." -William Bonney.

  • braddickbraddick Posts: 22,536 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Tom, great thread!

    A few weeks ago I purchased this set of 1976 coins:

    Now, this many weeks later I see these 1976 coins being offered:



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