1796 15 Stars Half Dollar, O-101, XF45
1796 50C 15 Stars XF45 NGC. O-101, R.5. Amato-121. Only
infrequently can the pedigree of a Draped Bust Small Eagle half
dollar be traced to a great collector. This Choice XF 1796 15 stars
once resided in the famous collection of William Cutler Atwater (a
New England coal-business mogul). The Atwater Collection was billed
by B. Max Mehl in his June 11, 1946, catalog as a "Complete
Collection of United States Gold, Silver, Copper From ... 1793 to
1920 (With Only Three or Four Exceptions)." Atwater's 1796 half had
excellent company: two 1804 silver dollars, 1884 and 1885 Trade
dollars, a 1796 No Stars and 1808 quarter eagle, a 1792 half disme,
and two 1802 half dimes.
Delicately Toned and Boldly Defined
From the Atwater Collection
The following identification markers confirm the Atwater pedigree. A prominent planchet lamination extends from the rim to the upper-right part of the stand of the T in LIBERTY, a small upper-left to lower-right mark is located on the lower left (facing) breast just above the drapery line, and a shallow X-shaped scratch is seen on the bust of Liberty.
Soft lavender-gray toning is accented with whispers of olive-green and beige, all of which takes on a slight mottled appearance on the obverse. Liberty's hair, facial features, and drapery are boldly defined, as are the eagle's wing and tail feathers. The dentilation is complete, and the design features are nicely centered on the planchet. A couple of faint pinscratches on Liberty's chest detract minimally from the coin's overall pleasing eye appeal. In sum, the new owner will possess an attractive, better-grade example of a classic piece of Americana that pedigrees to a legendary collection.
Ex: William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 394.
From The William Jacob Collection, Part II. (NGC ID# 24E9, PCGS# 6057)
View all of [The William Jacob Collection, Part II ]
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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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