Grading Service: PCGS
SKU: 137264
Cert Number: 36849391

A considerable mystery for nautical historians abounds the late months of 1872 when a ship is found completely abandoned several miles off the coast from the coast of the Azores Islands. The American vessel, Mary Celeste, had docked off the coast of New York on November 7, 1872 and headed toward Genoa, Italy. On board was her captain, Benjamin S. Briggs, his wife, their two-year-old daughter, eight crew-men, and 1,701 barrels of alcohol. Briggs and his crew had battled a rough sea for two weeks before they finally spotted land approximately six nautical miles away. After this is where the mystery kicks in because the next time the ship was seen it was desolate and still course bound. On December 4th that same year, a British vessel captained by David Moorehouse, spotted the full-sailed erratic ship five-hundred miles away from its last position. Curious of the ships destination, Moorehouse and several men boarded the ship to find it completely abandoned. Oddly, most of the passengers’ belongings still remained on the ship- except for two crew members’- along with a six month ration supply, but the only life boat was missing. There were no signs of capture or struggle, the sails were in excellent shape, one pump below deck was clogged but the other worked fine and just a thin layer of water sat in the lowest deck. These circumstances were not dire enough to lead a seasoned captain, which Briggs was, to abandon ship. Unsure of the captain’s whereabouts, Moorehouse took the Mary Celeste to the Port of Gibraltar for a salvage hearing where the ship’s insurers would payout its salvagers. Upon receipt, the attorney general Fredrick Solly-Flood expected foul play so he launched a full investigation. After three months his result was the same as Moorehouse’s first assessment: no signs of foul play. Since 1872 the ship’s fate has never really been uncovered, but it has been revisited plenty of times since. Yet the mystery of the Mary Celeste still remains just that- a mystery.

As one of the first denominations ever struck as official U.S. coinage, it is easy to say this was a useful coin. By the 1837, the mint had determined the most permanent design that would appear on the coin for the remainder of its years. However, even the “permanent” Seated Liberty half-dime design experienced five additional design changes which included the removal of the thirteen stars on the obverse that had been present since 1838. Its replacement “United States of America” motif added belonging and importance to the coin. Additionally, on behalf of the ever expansive western boarders, the reverse wreath was exchanged for a cereal wreath to compensate for the lack of motto on the reverse. As the only design to be struck in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans, it is clear that the denomination grew to a very successful point before its cousin the nickel officially took its place in 1873.

**Source: PCGS Price Guide. Although we try to be as accurate as possible on the listed population, third party pricing and coin information, information constantly changes. We suggest you verify all information.