An early half dollar variety has been discovered by Mark Borckardt, senior cataloger at Heritage Auction Galleries, and will be offered in the firm?s May 9-12 auction in St. Louis, Mo.
Borckardt?s discovery is a previously unknown die pairing in the 1806 Bust half series.
The new variety, to be classified Overton 130, is the first recorded combination of two previously known dies.
Its obverse is the same die found on Overton varieties 123, 124 and 128. Its reverse was previously known on Overton 115.
The new variety has been certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. as VF-30 and carries the additional ?Discovery Coin? designation.
The coin will be auctioned by Heritage in its Central States Numismatic Society Signature Auction, scheduled for St. Louis on May 9-12.
?For any student of early American coinage, the ultimate experience is the discovery of a new die variety,? Borckardt said.
?The realization of such a discovery is not immediate, but rather a slow awareness that the coin is special. My first thought was that perhaps I had overlooked something obvious, so I immediately reviewed all of the known 1806 half dollar varieties ? twice! I then considered each side of the coin independently. I identified the obverse with certainty as that of O-123, 124, and 128. Next, I double-checked each reverse for these three varieties, without finding a match.
?At this point, my level of excitement was growing. After reviewing all known reverse dies, a distinct match was found for O-115,? he continued.
?I was now certain that I had found a new variety, but naturally still desired further confirmation.?
Specialist in early half dollars Sheridan Downey was one of the people Borckardt sent photos of the new find to for confirmation. Downey said he saw no reason to doubt the attribution.
Al Overton?s research on early half dollars extended the work of Martin L. Beistle, whose reference was first published in 1929.
Beistle described 19 varieties of 1806 half dollars. When Overton published in 1967, he listed 22 varieties for the date, and the list expanded to 25 when his second edition was published three years later. Two more varieties had been identified by the third edition in 1990, and only three more since.
The most recent discoveries for this date were the 1806 O-128 variety discovered in November 1995, the 1806 O-129 variety identified in October 2005 and Borckardt?s current find.