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1796 15 Stars Half Dollar, O-101, XF45
Choice, Problem-Free Specimen for a High-Grade Collection

1796 50C 15 Stars XF45 NGC. O-101, R.5. The half dollars of 1796-1797, coming from a paltry mintage of 3,918 pieces, are among the most desirable and sought-after coins in American numismatics. This two-year design type with a Draped Bust obverse and Small Eagle reverse is a must-have coin for the completion of a type collection of U.S. coinage. Its minuscule mintage and relatively low survival rate (current research puts the surviving number at about 275 specimens) result in keen competition among type collectors, which in turn results in high prices, even for low-grade examples that have impairments such as plugs, scratches, cleaning, whizzing, tooling, or other problems. Even these latter specimens are currently realizing five-figure prices. Demand by early half dollar date and variety specialists further compounds the competition for a limited supply of 1796-1797 halves.
The present Choice XF 1796 15 Stars specimen is sure to elicit serious attention among bidders. Both sides display significant brilliance and an overlay of delicate rose patina. Sharpness in Liberty's hair strands, curls, hair ribbon, and drapery folds, and in the eagle's wing and tail feathers and talons, and clouds affirms the coin's high-end XF designation, as does bold detail in the dentilation of both sides. The ubiquitous die crack from the rim at 5 o'clock extending through the drapery and stars 15, 14, and 13 before returning to the rim is clear, as is the arc crack traveling from the neck curl to the drapery. No marks of consequence detract from the coin's eye appeal. Two minute marks appear on Liberty's lower neck, along with some faint vertical pinscratches below LI of LIBERTY extending to the hair ribbon, a small diagonal scrape between TE of STATES, and two minute marks on the eagle's right (facing) leg. This pleasing, problem-free specimen will be an excellent addition to a high-grade collection.
Ex: New England Rare Coin Auctions (11/1975), lot 582; Bowers and Merena (3/2005), lot 560; Husky Collection (Stack's, 6/2008), lot 2014.
From The Oliver Collection. (PCGS# 6057)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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Page Views: 1,270

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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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