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Fully Prooflike 1795 V-8, LM-7 Half Dime

1795 H10C MS67 NGC. V-8, LM-7, R.6. This is a rare die variety, although at least two Superb Gem quality examples survive. In May 1996, this cataloger had the privilege of describing the Eliasberg Collection specimen of the same die variety, which was described at the time as a "Unique Presentation Specimen." The present example could be a twin for the Eliasberg coin, save for faint reverse adjustment marks. Both coins are Superb Gem examples, and both coins are fully prooflike.
Liberty's hair ends in seven prominent curls or strands. This obverse die has star 1 touching both of the two lowest hair curls and star 15 is distant from the bust. Stars 8 and 9 are each clearly separated from L and Y. The digit 9 leans slightly right, and the top of the 5 is curved sharply upward, nearly touching the bust. There are nine denticles below the date. A prominent die crack bisects the obverse die from the upper border to the left arm of T to Liberty's forehead, left of the center dot, and eventually out through the lowest hair curl to the border below star 1. All examples of this variety that have been observed have this die crack.
The reverse has seven berries with three in the left branch and four in the right branch. There are no berries beneath either of the eagle's wings, and this feature alone is diagnostic for this reverse die. A long die scratch extends from outside of the left branch to the left base of A in STATES. The reverse has a faint crack from the left wing to the tops of TE, and down to the left base of D.
Both sides of this Superb Gem have fully prooflike and deeply mirrored fields. Each side has fully brilliant silver surfaces with a hint of champagne toning. Just a hint of central weakness is evident, and this is probably a result of the faint adjustment marks that are only seen through the lower portion of the reverse. These adjustment marks slant downward from left to right. The surfaces are pristine. Fine die polishing lines are clearly visible on the reverse, in the fields left and right of the eagle's head and below the right wing.
More than a dozen examples of this die marriage are known, up from a low estimate of six coins in the Eliasberg catalog. The Rarity-6 rating suggests that 13 to 30 examples are known, although we believe that the real figure is closer to 13 coins, including a number of higher grade pieces. The Eliasberg Specimen and this example are clearly the two finest. The Valentine plate coin also appears to be Mint State, and the Reiver Collection contained an AU example. The Logan-McCloskey plate coin appears to be similar, although with heavy adjustment marks on the obverse. The connoisseur of early American coinage will find this coin to be a true treasure.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 22ZV, PCGS# 4251)

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Auction Dates
August, 2006
13th-14th Sunday-Monday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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