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Pleasing 1797 Half Dollar, VF25
1797 50C VF25 PCGS. CAC. O-101a, High R.4. The 1796-1797
Draped Bust half dollar with Small Eagle reverse was produced using
three obverse and two reverse dies. The 1797 Overton-101 variety
employed the third and final obverse paired with the same reverse
die that was used for both 1796 issues (O-101, 15 stars, and O-102,
16 stars). 1797 O-101 eventually develops a crack from the rim
through star 2 to Liberty's curl, as well as myriad reverse cracks
Later Stage of O-101a
The present VF25 1797 O-101a example represents a later state of the reverse die. This is evident from a heavy crack that extends from the rim between D of UNITED and S of STATES, through the four laurel leaves and upper part of the wing to the lower neck. Another crack branches from this one to connect the lower parts of ST in STATES, where it joins a heavy crack running from the rim through the first T and the wreath to the eagle's upper neck. A light crack is also visible between the left (facing) leg and wing.
Bluish-gray toning on the obverse margin cedes to light silver-gray centers, while the former color dominates the reverse fields which then highlight the lighter gray design elements. The devices exhibit nice detail, including separation in much of Liberty's hair and about half of the eagle's wing plumage. The few small contacts scattered about are of little consequence, and adjustment marks are absent. A couple of minute marks on the forehead above Liberty's eye are mentioned for pedigree purposes. This pleasing, original coin is well deserving of the CAC green label.
(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24EC, PCGS# 6060)
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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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