Important 1797 O-102 Half Dollar, VG101797 50C VG10 NGC. O-102, Low R.6. The breakup of the reverse die used in the 1797 Overton-101 variety resulted in the employment of a new reverse die. It differs from the old reverse in that the peripheral lettering is slightly offset in relation to the wreath. An obverse die crack develops from the milling through star 2 to Liberty's hair curl. A Bust Half Nut Club rarity rating published in the July 2005 issue of the John Reich Journal elevates this variety from an R.5 to Low R.6. This is consistent with the findings published by this cataloger in the February 2005 issue of that journal. It is currently believed that only about 30 examples of the 1797 O-102 variety are known, nearly all in lower grades.
The present coin displays pleasing light gray toning and surfaces that are remarkably clean for the grade. The Liberty and eagle motifs are fully outlined and contain a modicum of internal detail. All of the other design elements are clear, except for the bottom of the 2 in the fraction, and are nicely centered on the planchet. A small squiggly scrape in the lower right reverse field near the rim identifies the coin.
The connoisseur of Bust halves does not want to miss out on this lovely lower- to middle-grade piece of Americana. Such an "affordable" specimen that is devoid of mentionable problems may not appear on the market again for some time.
Ex: Julian Leidman (5/1987); Jules Reiver (Heritage, 1/2006), lot 22515.
From The Joseph C. Thomas Collection.(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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