ONE KNOWN FROM THESE DIES! This 1861-O half is the ONLY Branch Mint Seated coin of ANY denomination that ICG has certified as a SPECIMEN PROOF, so they must have been incredibly impressed with it! It is a true PROOF because it has every characteristic of contemporary Mint-documented Branch Mint Proofs, including high, squared, knife-like rims; glassy, deeply mirrored fields; a powerful strike; proof edges; freedom from coin-to-coin contact; a lack of die cracks, clash marks, and other minting defects; an absence of business strike frost; a valid purpose for a PROOF issuance (the first year of Confederate halves); ultra-high relief; polished dies AND planchet; and evenness/fullness of details. ICG has renowned, famous experts who are more than qualified to classify 19th Century Branch Mint Proofs.
This mirrored beauty is UNIQUE because it is the ONLY 1861-O Proof half dollar struck from a pair of dies different from that used to strike the other three certified examples (an ANACS SP60, NGC SP62, and NGC SP64). ICG must have been incredibly impressed with this Proof because it is the ONLY mint marked Seated coin of ANY denomination that they have certified as a Specimen Proof! For that reason alone, the coin and its certification are UNIQUELY intriguing.ICG has tremendous credibility when attributing 19th Century Branch Mint Proofs because two of their finalizers are legends in the rare coin industry, PNG members Randy Campbell and Skip Fazzari. Both men are renowned numismatic experts who have long and incredibly impressive resumes, including 200-plus Coin World and Numismatic News articles published between them. As such, it is ICG's "Specimen Proof" classification that counts, not so much the grade, which by the way is just about spot on. The coin is more eye appealing than many Philly Proofs in higher grade holders!! Regardless, this GORGEOUS Proof speaks, or we should say SCREAMS, for itself. The powerful strike no doubt made with a silver dollar press, extremely heavy Mint polishing of the planchet and dies, and relative freedom from coin-to-coin contact by themselves definitively confirm the coin's Proof status. Walter Breen's Encyclopedia states that up to six 1861-O Proofs were minted. ICG certified this flashy, glittering coin in April 2017. Reputable, major grading services like ICG will not stick their necks out unless they are fully certain about a Specimen Proof's authenticity, as they are contractually obligated to financially back their certifications as per their legally-binding guarantees.
Such esoteric and highly sought-after pieces are very prestigious and extremely elusive -- and thus enhance a grading service's standing IF they are real, as is clearly the case with this beautiful 1861-O half dollar. And again, this is the ONLY mint marked Seated coin of ANY denomination with which ICG was sufficiently impressed to certify as a Specimen Proof! We can only laugh at the self-proclaimed "experts" (aka amateur wannabes) who second guess the grades, designations, attributions, and/or other determinations of the truly expert, guarantee-backing "Big Four" grading services, NGC, PCGS, ANACS, and ICG. We have found that such "experts" tend to be uninformed, attention-seeking collectors (or unsuccessful dealers) in disguise -- who base their baseless opinions (aka wild guesses) on blue collar junk science, not on the empirical evidence used by the "Big Four" services. Although ICG and ANACS use grading standards that can sometimes be a touch more liberal than those of NGC and PCGS, all four services are more than qualified to determine the authenticity of Seated Branch Mint Proofs.
This GORGEOUS piece is one of only four 1861-O Proof half dollars that have ever been certified by the four major services: ICG, NGC, PCGS, or ANACS. But our ICG SP62 is the lone example minted from a different set of dies.
This UNIQUE 1861-O Proof is actually rarer than the famous 1861 Original CSA half dollar, of which four are confirmed. And, as the PR30 CSA half evidences, collectors often just want an example of a particular issue, without great concern about the grade. This is certainly one of the most "fun" coins that we have ever owned.Its historical significance cannot be overstated. These 1861-O Specimen Proofs were probably intended to commemorate the first minting of half dollars by the New Orleans mint around the start of the Civil War. And again, just four have been certified in all grades combined by ICG, NGC, PCGS, and ANACS, with our specimen being the sole example not minted from the same dies.
The item "1861-O Branch Mint PROOF SP62 UNIQUE From These Dies #ONE Seated Half Dollar 50C" is in sale since Saturday, May 13, 2017. This item is in the category "Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ US\Half Dollars\Seated Liberty (1839-91)". The seller is "certifiedcitynet" and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This item can be shipped to United States.