Proof Capped Bust Half Dollars are extremely rare with most dates represented by only a few examples and some dates with no proofs known to exist. Among these rare proof issues, the most famous is the Proof 1838-O Capped Bust Half Dollar (Buy on eBay). At this time proofs were not standard issues from branch mints, and this represents just one of the few cases where true proof strikings have been confirmed to exist.
The New Orleans Mint is believed to have struck just 20 of the 1838-O Half Dollars in proof format to commemorate the opening of the new facility or simply to test the new equipment. The “O” mint mark was placed on the obverse of the coin above the date. Notably, the coins were the first half dollars struck at a branch mint and the earliest branch mint proof coins of any denomination.
Fewer than a dozen examples of the Proof 1838-O Half Dollar have survived from the scant original mintage, with grades ranging from PR-40 to PR-64. The rarity of the issue was known back in the 19th century and pieces have been in constant demand ever since. One of the finest known examples sold for $763,750 at auction in 2014.
- Designer: Christian Gobrecht
- Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
- Weight: 13.36 grams
- Diameter: 30 mm
- Edge: Reeded