A Rare 1831 Original Half Cent

In our upcoming Baltimore auction, November 16-19, there will be many significant offerings. Included among copper coins is a very rare 1831 Original half cent in Proof EF-45 (NGC). This particular coin has a solid pedigree as it was sold in the William Cutler Atwater Collection in 1946 and later found its way into the historic Roger C. Cohen Collection, a collection I cataloged when it was sold by Superior Galleries in 1992. Today the rarity of this historic issue is even more legendary, with perhaps 17 to 20 pieces known in total.

The surfaces are pleasing with smooth brown color and a sharp strike. Historically half cent specialists have believed that all 1831 Original (there are also a handful of restrikes, struck from different dies) half cents were struck as Proofs, with several entering circulation for a time, others retaining their magnificent delicate surfaces. Regardless of the striking intent, several today are known that show evidence of circulation, ranging in grade from Very Good to AU-58; others are graded from Proof-60 all the way to Proof-65—the finest seen. Rarely offered and always sought after, any 1831 Original half cent crossing the auction block commands attention and forms a core holding of any advanced half cent collection.

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