1796/5 H10C MS66 PCGS....
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|Auction Ended On:||Jan 10, 2008|
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Orange County Convention Center
Although no 1795 half dimes with the Draped Bust motif were coined, a 1795-dated obverse die of the new design was produced, then overdated with a 6 to create this rare LM-2 1796/5 variety. That obverse was paired with a single reverse die. A second non-overdate obverse was also paired singly with a different reverse, creating the LM-1 variety. Those are the only two die marriages known for the year; both featured a weak B in LIBERTY from the same defective letter punch. The well-known LIKERTY variety, with the top and bottom of the B weaker still, is technically a late, lapped die state of the LM-1 obverse die, which is by far the more common of the two varieties of 1796 half dimes.
This spectacular coin is uncommonly well brought up in the centers. The mint luster is bright, and the reverse fields display a semi-reflective gleam. A few shallow, horizontal adjustment marks are seen in the center of the obverse. The only marks of any note on either side are a couple of light abrasions in the lower right obverse field, which may be useful to the future pedigree researcher. The obverse shows light rose-colored patina, while the reverse is mostly pale lilac with rose-golden accents around the margins.
With approximately 30 examples of LM-2 known in all grades, the current coin is special for its absolute rarity first and foremost, at least from a fundamentally numismatic point of view. Sometimes we lose perspective of the significance of rarity ratings. Perhaps it is more poignant to state that, from a set of dies sunk in 1796, only 30 artifacts of those dies remain in any condition; quite literally, a handful of half dimes. And of those 30 pieces, most are low grade and/or impaired in some way. It goes without saying that owning the finest known specimen from a particular die pairing, especially a rare die marriage, of any coin is a dream that most collectors will never realize. The current coin is perhaps the finest known example of this rare variety. This is the highest yet graded at PCGS (11/07), with the next finest a lone MS64 that reigned supreme for several years before this piece was recently certified. To add perspective to the conditional significance of this half dime, the specimen from the famed Eliasberg Collection was estimated to grade MS61/62. Regardless of date or variety, the coin in this lot is one of the finest known Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dimes and is destined for inclusion in the most distinguished of cabinets.
Ex: Essex Palm Collection (Heritage, 1/07), lot 842, which realized $172,500.
From The Madison Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 22ZY, PCGS# 4255)
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