In 1911, Evelyn Walsh McLean purchased the Hope Diamond from the Paris jeweler, Pierre Cartier. This largest diamond was sold for $180,000 to the Washington D.C. based socialite and mining heiress. Prior to this purchase, the diamond had a reputation of being cursed and, sure enough, Evelyn experienced a string of misfortunes after acquiring it. These misfortunes included: the death of her son in a car accident, her husband running off with his mistress, her daughter’s fatal overdose and the bankruptcy of her family’s newspaper, the Washington Post. This 1911 Barber half dollar recalls the costly purchase of the Hope Diamond.
The Philadelphia Mint struck proof Half Dollars of the Barber type every year from 1892 through 1915. The first-year 1892 is a perennial favorite among type collectors, while the 1913, 1914 and 1915 enjoy strong market demand due to the limited mintages of their identically dated business strike counterparts.