Bits & Pieces... by David Sundman
[photo: Obverse and reverse of an 1830 half dollar from our purchases]

Obverse and reverse of an 1830 half dollar from our purchase

Hoard of Bust Half Dollars

David examining a group of coins from this remarkable accumulation

David examining a group of coins from this remarkable accumulation.

Our staff of skilled numismatic buyers worked hard to purchase the largest hoard of 19th- century U.S. type coins that they and I have ever seen. In fact, this was the biggest find in our company's history. It consisted of hundreds of thousands of coins, and presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Littleton's collectors to add some classic US coins to their existing US collection – or to branch out in a new direction – perhaps to a coin series that we have not been able to offer before. 

The hoard ranged from half cents to silver dollars and included selections of gold and US paper currency. As we graded, classified and inventoried the hoard, we made select offers to customers, both in catalogs and on price lists, as well as in our clubs and approval programs.

Here's a great example of a coin type from the hoard: Capped Bust, Lettered Edge half dollars (1807-1836). These were struck exclusively in Philadelphia, at the first and second US Mint facilities, and are very historic coins.

Stacks of early 19th-century Capped Bust halves from the hoard

Stacks of early 19th-century Capped Bust halves from the hoard

Designed by John Reich, the Capped Bust half was the largest circulating coin of its time. The production of the larger silver dollar had stopped in 1804, and would not resume for decades. During their years of issue, Bust halves mostly sat in bank bags while they backed paper currency issued by private and state-chartered banks of the day. Much foreign coinage circulated during that time, as the output of the Philadelphia Mint was meager until many years after the U.S. Civil War. The U.S. Mint-produced Bust half dollar is a scarce U.S. coin type. All of this is very exciting!

Edge inscription reads fifty cents or half a dollar

Edge inscription reads fifty cents or half a dollar