Overton's Handwritten Notes on a UP and Lelan Rogers' 1796-97 Half-Dollars
Sometime in 1971, perhaps late 1970, Paul Munson presented Overton with an 1806 half-dollar that was not listed in the 1970 2nd Edition. Overton confirmed it as a UP. The reverse was new, married to a well-known obverse die. We know the coin today as the 1806 O.126, an R.7- die pair. The VF detailed coin was holed, with a reverse scratch. It brought $7,975 when Munson sold it in Superior’s Heifitz Collection Sale of October 1989 (lot 485). As earlier noted, Overton used 5x7 index cards to jot down notes and die characteristics of die pairs and subvarieties. He needed a new one to record Munson’s find. It is headed, “Paul Munson 1806 NEW Unpub. REV.” The remainder of the index card is filled with Overton’s handwritten notes on the obverse and reverse die characteristics.
At about the same time Lelan Rogers sent his famed 1796 16-star and 1797 half-dollars to Overton for examination. These miraculous coins were each assigned an MS 66 grade by PCGS before appearing in the May 2015 sale of the Brent Pogue Collection. Overton used both sides of an index card to describe obverse and reverse die characteristics of the 1797 O.101a but only 3 lines of text for the 1796 O.102. He labeled the 1796 as “Sharp Unc.” and the 1797 as simply “B.U.”
Another index card, written in red ink, describes a “Copper – 50¢ 1831.” The coin was submitted to Overton by R.B. White of Sheldonville, Massachusetts. Although the piece is almost certainly a contemporary counterfeit, Overton did not proclaim it as such and dutifully noted its weight, diameter, edge and die characteristics.
Included with this lot is an undated 2-page report written before 1967 by Dr. L.H. Benedict. The short discourse describes 3 coins from his extensive collection of bust half-dollars, “not found in either” M.L. Beistle’s 1929 Register or Al Overton’s 1964 “Early Half Dollar Die Varieties Supplement.” Dr. Benedict offers detailed descriptions of an 1822 bust half and a pair dated 1828. The purchaser of this lot will enjoy matching Dr. Benedict’s coins to their current Overton designations.
This lot consists of Dr. Benedict’s essay and 4 index cards written in Overton’s hand.
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Sheridan Downey, Numismatist 4400 Keller Ave.,
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