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1797 50C XF40 PCGS. O-101a, R.5. Any Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar appearing in an auction sale is bound to generate ...

2005 July San Francisco, CA (ANA) Signature Auction #382

 
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Auction Ended On: Jul 28, 2005
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Description:
Attractive 1797 Half Dollar, XF40 PCGS
1797 50C XF40 PCGS. O-101a, R.5. Any Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar appearing in an auction sale is bound to generate excitement among numismatists. This two-year design type bears the dates 1796 and 1797. According to Mint records, a total of 3,918 pieces were struck. Published estimates of surviving coins vary widely, but virtually all suggest less than 300 coins. Each of the two dates consists of two varieties. The 1796-dated half dollars feature either 15 obverse stars (Overton 101) or 16 stars (Overton 102). The two 1797 varieties (Overton 101 and Overton 102) are differentiated according to the placement of the reverse wreath in relation to the peripheral lettering (both 1797 varieties have 15 obverse stars). Moreover, the reverse die of the 1797 Overton 101 variety began to break up, giving rise to a sub-variety known as Overton 101a, examples of which show extensive reverse die cracks.
The XF40 specimen that we offer in the present sale is an Overton 101a. Not only is the reverse cracked, but the obverse also shows a heavy crack from the rim through star 2 to Liberty's hair curl. The surfaces of this coin are a pleasing light to medium grayish-blue with subtle lavender and golden undertones. The design elements are well centered on the planchet, and reveal nice remaining detail, though virtually all of the stars are flat in the centers, and feather detail is absent from the eagle's neck, breast, and legs. The dentilation is relatively strong on both sides, and the surfaces are quite clean for a coin that has been in circulation. A few minute, inconsequential contact marks are scattered about, particularly on Liberty's chest and neck, and an unobtrusive short pinscratch extending from the shoulder into the hair helps to identify the piece. No adjustment marks are evident on either side. All in all, this is a very attractive coin for the grade, and is sure to elicit spirited bidding. The Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar is necessary to complete an advanced type set of U.S. coinage.(#6060)(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24EC, PCGS# 6060)

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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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