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Rarity found in dirt

While raking dirt in upstate New York, contractor George Williams made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.

It was a numismatic rarity, the eighth known example of the Overton-102a variety of the 1817/4 Capped Bust half dollar.

The find will be offered by Heritage Numismatic Auctions at its Jan. 3-7 Florida United Numismatists Signature Auction. The piece is considered the second finest survivor of the eight known examples.

Discovery of the coin was reported only last month. Williams found it in a load of fill dirt he ordered to backfill around some foundation work he was doing.

As he was raking the soil, he heard a clink. His son Nial, 19, hosed down the coin and revealed the date. Later, Williams’ 14-year-old coin-collecting son, Cullinan, discovered more details about the coin by studying a coin reference work and surfing the Web for information about the rare over date.

The coin has been authenticated and certified by ANACS as having XF-40 details with some corrosion from what could well be nearly two centuries in the soil.

In July, a VF-20 specimen, as graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., sold for $193,359, and the finest known example, graded AU-50, sold last year for $333,500.

“FUN is a great venue for selling rarities, and the Bust half dollar specialists will be out in force in Orlando to pursue this extraordinary find,” said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage.

Another item of interest in the auction is a coin considered by Heritage catalogers to be the finest-known 1787 Seated Right Nova Eborac Copper.

The 1787 Nova Eborac Copper is graded MS-63 Brown by Professional Coin Grading Service.

“The striking details are exceptionally strong on each side and there are no detracting abrasions or copper spots in evidence,” said Rohan. “This is the finest Nova Eborac graded by either of the major services, and in fact the closest coins in grade are three AU-55s.”

For more information about Heritage’s FUN auctions, visit Heritage’s Web site at www.HeritageGalleries.com.

To receive a copy of any Heritage auction catalog, contact Nicole Jewell at (800) 872-6467, ext. 272, or visit www.HeritageGalleries.com to order by e-mail.

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