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Obverse of 1839-O Capped Bust Half Dollar     Reverse of 1839-O Capped Bust Half Dollar


Circulation strikes: 178,976
Proofs: est. 10

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: 30 millimeters

Metal content:
Silver - 90%
Copper - 10%

Weight: 206.25 grains (13.36 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: "O" (for New Orleans) above the date on the obverse

Images courtesy of Stack's

The finest 1839-O Half Dollars graded by PCGS is a single MS-67.

No Proof 1839-O Half Dollars have been graded by PCGS.

NGC has graded 35 Mint State 1839-O Half Dollars, the finest of which is a single MS-67.

NGC has graded three Proof 1839-O Half Dollars, the finest of which is a PR-65.  In addition, NGC has graded a single Specimen 1839-O Half Dollar at the SP-62 level.

Significant examples:
"Brilliant Proof".  Stack's "Robison" 02/1982:1607 - Stack's "Queller Family" 10/2002:448, $51,750.00, "1839`O' Brilliant Proof, with some claims to Choice status. The obverse is spectacularly toned in a combination of deep gray, rose, iridescent blue and pale green. The reverse is a similar, variegated combination of dark and lighter silver gray, with areas of pale rose. The fields on both sides are bright, shiny, and fully reflective, even inside the vertical shield lines on the reverse. The center of the obverse is very sharp, with all Liberty's hair curls individually delineated and all the folds in her cap gown sharp and clear. The date is bold, and the mintmark stands out nicely against the pale gray surface. On the reverse, all of the eagle's feathers are sharp and clear, those in the arrow bold. The arrow heads are pointed and show inner detail, and the talons have all of their raised lines showing. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE) Exceptionally rare: in fact, rarer than even the 1838`O' although not as well publicized as that coin. We have been able to confirm the existence of only four surviving specimens that can definitely be called different coins: the 1945 World's Greatest Collection piece (lot 411, the F.C. Boyd coin); Lester Merkin's personal coin which we sold in September, 1992; the one in Bowers' sale of September, 1994; and this coin (ex Robison). Breen listed only four in the 1977 and 1989 editions of his Proof coins book. Unaccountably, his 1988 encyclopedia states five known without listing them and we feel he was probably wrong in the number. The March, 1967 Merkin sale piece was an Unc with a prooflike obverse. The 1839`O' Proof Half Dollars were probably struck during late March and June, 1839. The obverse die used for their production was a new one shipped that year from Philadelphia, but the reverse was one of the two dies shipped in 1838. It is very possible, therefore, that the 1838`O' Proofs and the 1839`O' Proofs were struck during the same short time frame, since the 1838`O' obverses were defaced on June 21, 1839. The 1839`O' Proofs seem to have been struck before the business strikes from the same dies, as the reverse breaks visible on the Stack's September, 1992 piece are not as advanced as those so far seen on 1839`O' business strikes from the same dies.  Ex Robison Collection (Stack's, February 1982, lot 1607)."

Recent appearances:
Gem Brilliant Uncirculated.  Stack's "65th Anniversary" 10/2000:989, unsold

PCGS MS-64.  Goldbergs 05/2001:711, $8,050.00

Very Choice Brilliant Uncirculated.  Stack's "65th Anniversary" 10/2000:990, $7,475.00

EF-40.  B&M "LaRiviere, Part II" 03/2001:1732, $483.00

EF-40, Scratched.  Heritage "Long Beach"05-06/2001:5625, $350.75

VG.  Stack's "September Sale" 09/2000:424, $253.00

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, July 2004" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"The NGC Census Report", online at, August 18, 2004