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Rare Variety 1801 Half Dime, LM-2, R.4, Ex: Reiver

1801 H10C V-1 and V-2, LM-2, R.4. Reiver state b. VF25 NGC. Ex: Reiver Collection. Attractive medium steel gray with a touch of russet-gold on some of the devices. The surfaces are average for the grade, and the coin retains ample collector appeal. In this die state, the obverse die has strong clashmarks over the date and above Liberty's head. On the reverse, the strike is uneven with several areas showing weakness. The reverse die was rotated about 25 degrees clockwise when this coin was struck, which caused the clashed shield lines extending from the top and back of Liberty's head to be at the same slight angle. No sign of the rim crumbling above stars nine through twelve.
The half dimes of 1801 proved quite a challenge for numismatists to understand for decades. A single reverse die was used to coin the known varieties, Valentine-1 and Valentine-2. In addition, the obverses dies were a virtual match. Jules Reiver believed that the V-1 and V-2 varieties were coined with the same dies, but represented different die states. A number of late die state examples were obtained by Jules Reiver and his friend Ed Price. Together they obtained over 30 examples to study and confirmed Jules's belief that the same obverse die was used to coin both varieties. This conclusion did not seem plausible as the obverse die failed severely with a heavy die crack or damage from the right side of the Y in LIBERTY down the inside of the stars to star twelve. The obverse die was removed and severely lapped, removing most of the evidence of this heavy die crack or damage. This reduced the size of the stars and most devices. More coins were struck until the obverse die failed again with a heavy crack up through the 8 in the date arcing to the B of LIBERTY. Several coins are offered in this sale of the different die states and this provides an excellent opportunity to study this elusive coin. Ed Price and Jules Reiver published their findings in the John Reich Journal in July 1998 in Volume 11, Issue 3, and this article forms the basis for the fascinating die states of the 1801 half dime varieties. Few if any dies used by the Philadelphia Mint show such extensive cracking or damage and were later lapped and reused. Perhaps this was a function of the Mint's precarious position in 1801, when Congress nearly shut it down. Perhaps the trials and tribulations that played themselves out in Congress and are memorialized in the dies and coinage which so many collectors study and enjoy today.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 2327, PCGS# 4267)

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Auction Dates
August, 2006
13th-14th Sunday-Monday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 238

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