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1873-S No-Arrows half dollar?
By E-Gobrecht

The following Article appeared in the August The E-Gobrecht Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 8

With an minimum opening bid of $500,000, Paul Bosco, a New York dealer with tables at the 2008 ANA Convention, offered the “1873S No Arrows Discovery Coin,” item number 300245146593 with a closing date of August 4, 2008.

He described the coin as such: “I suggest you use your computer’s imaging programs to enlarge the pictures. They are rather convincing. Mintage 5000, but it has always been believed that no specimens are known. The 1873S Dollar –mintage 700– has the same status. In 1873 the weight of silver fractional coins was increased and the silver dollar was suspended, as well as the half dime. In the case of halves, the increase was from 12.44 grams to 12.50. Arrows were placed next to the date, distinguishing coins with the same date (and mint mark) but different weight standard.

It seems that some of the No Arrows coins were melted, not released. The 1873CC Quarter is known in only a few examples. It is difficult to say, whether or not the all examples of very rare 1873 No Arrows coins were assay specimens. At least one quarter is well used. The phrasing in the Red Book implicitly acknowledges the possibility that at least some examples were released to circulation. The notion that all were melted down is not, as far as I know, supported by documentation, but by the circumstantial evidence, i.e. the nonexistence of any examples. Until now.

The 1933 $20 piece was not released and it IS documented that the considerable mintage was entirely melted. However, examples certainly do exist.

This discovery coin — I have no memory of where I got it — shows extensive fire damage, as if it survived the melting pot. However, it could just as easily have been saved by a mint employee, who subsequently — and some would say ironically– had a fire in his home. It is not possible to say if the coin is in fact Uncirculated with “environmental damage”. Also, the weight and specific gravity would notmeaningful, as corrosion and damage products would increase the weight and decrease the density. Of course, no die diagnostics are known for the date/mint/variety.

I will bring the coin to the ANA convention in Baltimore, where I have two tables. As I will be there, I may not be able to respond to questions. Free postage on this lot. I may even pay for your flight to New York to pick it up.”

[Editor’s comments: This coin is not authenticated and John Dannreuther (PCGS Director of Research) and I, Bill Bugert, attempted to see and scrutinize this discovery coin at Paul Bosco’s ANA table. Paul told us the coin was out with his photographer and he didn’t know when he would get it back. It received no eBay bids as of this newsletter’s publication.]
 



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