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Beautiful Near-Gem 1796 LIKERTY Half Dime, V-1, LM-1

1796 H10C MS64 PCGS. V-1, LM-1, R.3. The more available of the two die varieties for this issue, though scarce in its own right, known in the Guide Book as the LIKERTY variation for the breaks near the vertical stroke at the upper and lower loops of the B. Interestingly, there are more Guide Book entries for this issue than there are die marriages; the 1796, 6 Over 5 corresponds to the V-2 or LM-2 and the 1796 LIKERTY is the V-1 or LM-1. These are the only two die varieties established for the year and denomination, leaving the "plain" 1796 entry sandwiched between the two an enigma.
The year 1796 marked the half dime's transition from the Flowing Hair obverse to the Draped Bust design, a shift that took place a year earlier for the half dollar and dollar, the other silver denominations then in production. With a stated mintage of just 10,230 pieces split between the two 1796 half dime varieties, it is little wonder that the date as a whole is scarce in an absolute sense, nor does it come as a surprise when Logan and McCloskey describe both variants as "usually seen well worn."
Such truths make the existence of coins such as the present near-Gem all the more remarkable. Its luster is gorgeous, and the strike is remarkably bold on the fine details of Liberty's hair. Ice-blue, violet, and russet shadings are dominant, but occasional elements of light silver-gray glimmer at the margins. A remarkably appealing representative that is easy to appreciate. For all 1796 half dime varieties combined, Population: 4 in 64, 4 finer (11/08).
From The James Mossman Collection.
See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 22ZX, PCGS# 4254)

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Auction Dates
January, 2009
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