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1794 Half Dollar, AU50
O-101a, Lower Condition Census Example

1794 50C AU50 NGC. O-101a, R.4. The O-101 die variety is rather easily distinguished by the distinctive obverse, showing the lowest leftmost star piercing Liberty's bottommost hair curl at its midpoint -- one of two similar obverses that show this characteristic -- but on the present O-101, star 9 is distant from the Y in LIBERTY. On the very rare O-107, that star is relatively close to the Y. The reverse of the O-101 shows a pair of leaves between O and F, with the topmost leaf quite close to O. There are 21 berries on the reverse -- 10 left, 11 right -- the only such die for 1794 with that attribute. All known specimens show a heavy vertical die crack running from the rim to a leaf pair just left of the first S in STATES. In the later O-101a die state, as on the present AU specimen, there is a second die crack crossing from the rim through the F in OF to a second leaf pair, where it makes a sharp turn upward, crossing through the topmost single leaf on the right, to the last S in STATES, where it fades out.
This AU50 NGC-certified example of the O-101a is likely in the mid-Condition Census for the variety and die state, as far as we can discern. Our Permanent Auction Archives show more high-grade offerings of the O-101 up to Choice AU, unsurprisingly since we rank it at High R.3 (Stephen Herrman also ranks the O-101a at High R.3, but we believe it is a tad rarer). This piece is identifiable as lot 6150 in our Pittsburgh Signature (Heritage, 8/2004) by several milling marks beneath stars 6-8 and some planchet roughness in the date area. That 2004 offering brought $48,300, a remarkably strong price at the time.
This piece shows even silver-gray color with a light golden overlay. Visible marks are few and light, and mostly confined to the fields on each side. The Steve Herrman census for O-101a places this piece as sixth finest for the die state.
Ex: Pittsburgh ANA (Heritage, 9/2004), lot 6150.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24E6, PCGS# 6051)

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Auction Dates
January, 2013
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The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato

The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato is the culmination of more than 10 years of research into the Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar series, one of the most coveted type coins in American numismatics and one about which remarkably little has been written.

This work will be the premier reference for 1796-1797 half dollars for years to come. Institutions having an extensive numismatic library or coin cabinet will find it a valuable complement to their holdings, and catalogers charged with writing up specimens for auction can now have an indispensable source of background and pedigree information. Likewise, coin dealers seeking to purchase one or more '96 or '97 half dollars for a client or for inventory, and collectors who own, have owned, or desire to own one will want this important reference work for their libraries.

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