A Sag Harbor doctor’s hoard with a limited bust of half a dollar


from F. David BowersCo-founder, Stack’s Bowers … ..

It must have been an all-rounder among collectors long Island, new York in 1880 when the Capped bust half a dollar (coined 1807-1836) had long been withdrawn from circulation. In fact, such pieces had not been seen since the early 1850s, when many, if not most, of the remaining pieces were melted down for gold bars when the price of silver rose in international markets.

The story tells this article in the Evening transcript, August 20, 1880:

“A gentleman from Southampton, Long Island, writes that the sudden appearance of a large number of silver half-dollars, all dated 1836 and as light as when they were made of mint. The mystery is explained like this: An old resident of Sag Harbor, formerly known as a practicing doctor, but who led a comparatively withdrawn life for several years, at the time of the panic of 1836 [sic] hoarded 1,500 half dollars from that date. He kept them to this day in complete disregard for any interest or premium. He has now brought this hoarded treasure into circulation. “

Actually it was that Panic of 1837, not the panic of 1836, but early 1837 (when financial problems grew so bad that most of the leading banks in the east stopped paying out coins) anyone looking for a large number of silver coins would likely have found them by 1836 were dated. At the time, the half dollar was the largest currently minted silver coin in the country, the silver dollar was last minted in large numbers in the calendar year 1804 (and bears dates from 1803 and earlier). Approximately 1,600 1836-dated Gobrecht silver dollars but these were mainly made in Pennsylvania and would not have been available in abundance to anyone looking for a bag or any other appreciable quantity of it at a bank in distant Long Island.

Today no half a dollar from 1836 with specific family trees are known Say port Doctor, but probably some of them reached numismatic channels at the time of their discharge. The 2021 travel Guide lists the value of the 1836 cap bust with labeled rim from $ 325 to $ 925 in AU-50 grade and $ 2,000-5,000 in MS-63 grade, while the cap bust of 1836 with reed edging in MS-63 grade at $ 20,000 and $ 5,000 in AU-50 -Quality is listed.


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