Ex Don Frederick, Jim McGuigan and Steven Nomura.An unusually wholesome example of this frequently abused first year of issue. The obverse features a mix of light and darker grey toning. The reverse is evenly toned, light grey with hints of luster. A smattering of unobtrusive, uninteresting circulation ticks lie beneath the toning and befit the grade. You will need a loupe to find faint adjustment marks at 6 o’clock on the reverse.
This was Don Frederick’s set piece for many years. It brought $37,375 when Heritage offered it at the 2008 July/August Baltimore ANA Sale. Lot 1658 appeared in an NGC VF 35 capsule and was assigned an R.6 rarity rating. Jim McGuigan either purchased the coin at the Frederick auction or acquired it later. He crossed the coin to PCGS and submitted it to CAC, with happy results. Only two 1794s graded VF 30 carry a CAC sticker. I suspect the other is a common O.101. In August 2015 McGuigan sold the coin to Steve Nomura for $35,000. The market for 1794 half-dollars had begun to slip with news that Terry Brand had died in 2010. His estate held a hoard of around 200 1794 half-dollars, assembled over a period of approximately 25 years. In 2017 Heritage began selling the Brand hoard. Most graded good to fine, many with problem. About 90% were attributed to the 1794 O.101 die pair. The market for 1794s sagged further as sales continued over the next 2 to 3 years. Good news for collectors seeking examples of this charismatic date. Not so good for collectors who already owned a 1794. Higher grade and Condition Census pieces were less affected by dispersal of the Brand hoard. The Nomura 1794 O.106 is plated in Tompkins, p.30. It lies at the tail-end of or just outside the Condition Census for this die pair. It depends on how one views a couple of XF coins with problems. The Tompkins plates are useful in making that determination. In all events, this is an important coin.
Estimate: $20,000 to $25,000
Sheridan Downey, Numismatist 4400 Keller Ave.,
Suite 140, PMB 398 Oakland, California 94605 email@example.com (510) 479-1585