1853 Liberty Octagonal “Peacock Reverse” 50 Cents, BG-302, Low R.4, PCGS MS63. Ex. Jay Roe collection. This is a highly lustrous coin with satiny khaki-rose surfaces, this is a lovely example of the ever-popular “Peacock” reverse Fractional Half Dollar. In the 2003 Jay Roe catalog, where this coin realized $5,060, it was described as:
The plate coin for the second edition of Breen-Gillio. A highly lustrous specimen of the famous “peacock” reverse half dollar, one of the most popular design types in the series. At least three examples of this variety were found in the wreckage of the Winfield Scott. The present choice Mint State coin probably owes its survival to a souvenir seeker some 150 years ago!
- Maker: Frontier, Deviercy & Co.
- Weight: 0.53 grams.
- Diameter: 10.8 mm.
- Edge: Reeded.
- Obverse: Broad head of Liberty to left, 13 six-pointed stars around, tip of truncation points to star 1, tip of coronet points to star 7, F.D. vertically behind bust in field, D weak at bottom and tilts left at top, 3 of date resembles an 8.
- Reverse: CALIFORNIA GOLD. Arcs above eagle, 50. CENTS. Curves below. Fanciful eagle perches on arrow, wings outspread, rays behind (probably in imitation of the new federal-issue silver quarters and half dollars with rays around the reverse eagle that may have made the ir way to California in pocket change by the time this issue was struck) resemble a peacock”s tailfeathers, hence the appellation “Peacock” reverse. Die mark in O of CALIFORNIA, final A repunched, T of CENTS also repunched at bottom. Eagle with six distinct tailfeathers, all of which point directly to 50.
- BDie State I.B Perfect dies; clear repunching on 50 and T, extra outlines fade with die use (50 already faded on the present specimen).
PCGS Population: 23; 13 finer (the best are 2 in MS-65).
From the Eleanor C. Paradee Collection. Earlier from Bowers and Merena’s sale of the Jay Roe Collection, September 2003, lot 49. “Roe” purchased the coin from Kedzie Coins on July 6, 1985.