From the collection of Jerome Zonca. Ex Chris Merrill.A fabled rarity, with somewhere around 20 examples known in all grades. The obverse die never reached adolescence. It bowed, bulged, cracked and died. John Cobb discovered the die pair around 1966, coining the moniker, “Moonbreak 1817.” (Most have a circular die break crossing Liberty’s cap.) Cobb proclaimed the 104 to be the greatest find of his career. Sam Nolt, BHNC member No.4, located a 2nd example in the early 1970s. He sold his coin to Dr. Gerald Schertz in 1984. Don Gunnet, another BHNC pioneer, came up with a 3rd example. He traded it to Charlton Meyer in 1977. The coin offered here is the Chris Merrill specimen. When an unfortunate family circumstance dictated the sale of his notable collection, Chris delivered his coins to Heritage. Inexplicably, the 1817 O.104 was relegated to the Internet portion of its Feb. 2018 Long Beach Sale, lot 8028. There was no description or recognition of the importance of the coin. It sold quietly for $4,560. The coin is not as bad as it might seem. Liberty’s countenance is obscured by the faulty die and ensuing tour in circulation, not by damage. The coin is evenly toned, light to medium grey. With proper light hairlines are seen, supporting the PCGS qualification, “cleaned.” The opportunity to acquire an 1817 O.104 for less than 5-figures is not to be ignored. Estimate: $4,500 and up
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Sheridan Downey, Numismatist 4400 Keller Ave.,
Suite 140, PMB 398 Oakland, California 94605 email@example.com (510) 479-1585