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1796 50C 16 Stars VF25 PCGS. O-102, High R.5....

2012 August 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Philadelphia #1173

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Auction Ended On: Aug 3, 2012
Item Activity: 10 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
201 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


1796 16 Stars Half Dollar, Problem-Free VF25
O-102, Ex: Lahrman Specimen
1796 50C 16 Stars VF25 PCGS. O-102, High R.5. The appearance of a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar at auction always grabs the attention of date/variety and advanced type collectors. The early half dollar specialist needs a 1796 as well as a 1797 piece for a date collection, and the variety collector requires all four 1796-1797 die marriages. The type collector needs only one of the 1796-1797 dates, but even a single example of this rarity commands a hefty price regardless of its grade or surface condition. Indeed, the Draped Bust Small Eagle half is the costliest of all U.S. type coins in virtually all levels of preservation. It is, therefore, a major obstacle to the completion of a U.S. type collection.
The present VF25 16 Stars offering will satisfy any of the foregoing collecting persuasions. Its original, problem-free surfaces display soft reddish-gray patina with delicate grayish-brown accents. The lighter-toned design motifs stand out against the slightly deeper hues in the fields and interstices, somewhat more so on the obverse. Liberty exhibits strong definition, especially in the hair, facial features, and drapery. The eagle's wings and tail are also well delineated, while its torso and legs show the typical strike softness. A strike-through on Liberty's jaw readily identifies the coin, as do a series of marks (also planchet flaws) on the lower right (facing) wing. The coin is from an early die state as it lacks the heavy crack from the rim between the date and star 1 that then travels through the first four stars before returning to the milling. The only trace of the break on the current specimen is a very light crack that joins stars 1 through 3.
In summary, this is a highly attractive specimen of one of the most desirable early half dollars and perhaps the most coveted of U.S. type coins. Its technical quality and originality are sure to please the advanced collector. Simply put, 18th century coins that have experienced moderate circulation do not ordinarily come this nice!
Ex: The Lee G. Lahrman Collection (Abe Kosoff, 2/1963), lot 617; The Seller Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1980), lot 3165; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2010), lot 4071.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24EA, PCGS# 6058)

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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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