It was sometime in 1983 when I ran into Elton Dosier and Henry Hilgard at a small coin show in Oakland, CA. I was carrying a custom made Capital Plastics coin holder that housed my fledgling date set of capped bust half-dollars. They spotted the holder and wasted no time introducing themselves. In short order I learned that they also collected bust halves and knew much more about the series than I. It turned out that Henry’s father had been one of my professors in college. Small world.
In private conversations Henry told me that Elton, a supremely modest man in dress and demeanor, was the premier cherry-picker in the Bust Half Nut Club. Floyd Farley, BHNC member #2, tagged Elton with the moniker “Scattergood.” Elton had a near photographic memory for anything related to bust halves, including want lists of his collecting friends. If he came upon a coin that he already had but was needed by another BHNC member, off it went, always at Elton’s cost, be it an R.1 or R.6. He continued to scatter good until his death in 1997. His widow, Dorothy, asked me to handle the sale of his collection which included an 1817/4.
I brought several of Elton’s coins to the 1998 ANA Convention. Here is Tim Osborne’s recollection of that event and the coin offered here: I purchased an 1836 O.121 from you at the Portland ANA in August of 1998. It was from Elton Dosier’s set. I remember sitting at your table, with the Farley coin in one hand and the Dosier coin in the other. Both were raw, unslabbed coins and I was trying to make a choice. I settled on Elton’s.
Good choice Tim! One cannot imagine a more wholesome bust half-dollar. It features unquestionably original toning and surfaces. Luster sparkles around the devices. I will not belabor the rarity of this die pair. If you are assembling a die variety set you know that the `36-121 is a major stumbling block in the road to success. In 2019 Dr. Sears pried this one loose from Tim’s home in the bayous of Louisiana.Estimate: $3,000 and up
Sheridan Downey, Numismatist 4400 Keller Ave.,
Suite 140, PMB 398 Oakland, California 94605 firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 479-1585