14 December 2000
Significant 1826 Half Dollar
1826 Half Dollar. Chopmarked on both sides. Heavy black encrustation. Perhaps Extremely Fine or so, with gray and black corrosion and deposits. Only the last digit of the date is readily apparent, but the visible elements exclude 1836 from contention.
Two neat chopmarks visible on the obverse and two more are immediately apparent on the reverse, vestiges of the cross-Pacific trade in merchandise and labor that saw San Francisco become the major West Coast hub after 1849. American silver coins, especially half dollars and, later, trade dollars, had currency in China as coins of steady weight and purity, to which the merchants' marks or "chopmarks" attest. China was also one of the major sources of laborers in the gold fields and throughout the American West. One of those laborers or a trading ship could have been the second leg on an America-China round trip. A fascinating artifact, and one of relatively few Capped Bust half dollars known with early Chinese chopmarks.
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