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Top Pop Acquisition

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JAA

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1904 Half Centavo MS66 RB (Combined NGC/PCGS Population 4/0).

When congress approved a coinage system for the U.S. administered Philippine Islands the smallest denomination authorized was the bronze Half Centavo. First struck in 1903 the Half Centavo was poorly accepted by the public and it soon became apparent that this was an unneeded and unnecessary denomination. Production of Half Centavo business strikes was halted in March 1904 and most 1904 Half Centavos were never released into circulation.

In 1908 the Half Centavo was recalled from circulation and 7.5854 million pieces of the unwanted coins (approximately 43% of the total 1903 -- 1904 mintage) was shipped to San Francisco for re-coinage into One Centavo coins.

Despite the large number of Half Centavos that were consigned to the melting pots high grade full red Mint State examples of the 1903 Half Centavo are relatively common thanks to the large number of these coins that were put aside by collectors during the Half Centavos first year of issue.

1904 Half Centavos are more difficult to find in Gem condition because of a lower mintage (5.654 million) and reduced collector enthusiasm for the coins in the second year.

The combined NGC/PCGS population of Gem quality 1904 Half Centavos is relatively small, only fifty in MS65 and seven in MS66. The technically finest certified grade is MS66. Of the seven MS66 specimens three are MS66 BN and four MS66 RB. The highest grade in full Red is MS65.

For several years now I have been looking for an attractive MS65 or MS66 example of the 1904 Half Centavo. Until recently the highest grade that I have seen offered was MS64 RB which is the most commonly seen certified grade for this date. That situation changed dramatically last month when four specimens that met my criteria were offered on Teletrade. Within a few weeks of each other Teletrade offered two MS65 RB specimens, a MS65 RD, and a MS66 RB.

Suddenly I had a choice to make. The two MS65 RB specimens were attractive but predominately brown. I did not care for the eye appeal of the MS65 Red specimen which was definitely not full red and had more brown on it than one would expect to see on a coin with a red designation. Of the four specimens the MS66 RB was definitely the most attractive. It was also the specimen with the highest technical grade and a Top Pop coin. In the end the choice was not that difficult as the MS66 RB specimen was the hands down winner in terms of both technical grade and eye appeal. I placed a bid at the reserve price of $425.00 ($499.38 with buyer's premium) and was the successful bidder.

When my prize arrived in the mail I was not disappointed. The coin is predominately red and has fantastic luster and exceptional eye appeal. This specimen is unquestionably one of the finest examples of the 1904 Half Centavo business strike. Unfortunately the attached picture does not do this coin justice. The scratches that you see in the image are on the holder not the coin and the coin is much redder than it appears in the picture.

To see additional Half Centavos visit my Half Centavo Registry Set at: http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/registry/coins/SetListing.aspx?PeopleSetID=77008&Ranking=all

In addition to my Top Pop 1904 MS66 RB Half Centavo this Registry Set features two Top Pop Half Centavo Proofs, a 1904 PR66 RB (Combined NGC/PCGS Population 4/0) and a gorgeous rainbow toned 1908 PR67 RB (Combined NGC/PCGS Population 3/0). Other highlights of this Registry Set include a 1903 PR66 RD Half Centavo from the Dr. Greg Pineda Philippine Collection, and a 1905 PR64 RD Half Centavo from the Louis E. Eliasberg Senior Collection

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