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Description

Rare 1796 C-2, B-2 Half Cent, XF40
With Pole to Cap

1796 1/2 C With Pole XF40 PCGS Secure. CAC. C-2, B-2, High R.4. During the earliest years at the Philadelphia Mint, dies were reused until they wore out, regardless of the date that appeared. For that reason, annual mintage figures are seldom related to the actual number of coins struck for a given date. For example, many half cents from 1795-dated dies were struck during the first half of 1796. Sources of copper at that time included sheet copper, Talbot, Allum, and Lee tokens, and spoiled (error) large cents.

Mint records indicate that 25,600 half cents were coined during the fourth quarter of 1795 and those were most likely the 1795 Lettered Edge coins. In his Half Cent Encyclopedia, Walter Breen provided delivery details about half cents struck in 1796, taken from Henry Voigt's account book:

January 22. 30,000 made from rolled copper.
February 28. 30,000
March 12. 2,000 possibly from spoiled cents.
March 18. 32,000 possibly including pieces from Talbot, Allum, and Lee tokens.
March 21. 15,000 possibly including pieces from TAL tokens.
April 19. 3,350 probably dated 1795.
June 8. 1,740 probably dated 1795.
October 14. 1,390 certainly dated 1796.



Most students of the half cent series accept the 1,390 coins delivered on October 14 as the true mintage of 1796 half cents. There will likely never be an agreement regarding the mintage, nor will there be a breakdown of the mintage quantity for each of the two varieties. However, the rarity and importance of 1796 half cents is known beyond any doubt.

With perhaps one exception, all 1796 With Pole half cents were struck on copper rolled from sheets. The weight of this piece is unknown, but it is likely about the normal weight of 84 grains. A single specimen is known at 105 grains, that Breen attributes as struck on a spoiled cent.

This remarkable example has smooth, hard brown surfaces with some maroon patina from faint, old corrosion. A thin, old scratch runs from the left obverse border into the cap, but it is so well blended with the surface that it virtually disappears in its surroundings. A tiny dent is noted on the N in CENT. Overall, this specimen is an exceptional representative that will make a nice addition to an advanced cabinet. Our EAC grade VF25.(Registry values: P9) (NGC ID# 2227, PCGS# 1027)

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Auction Dates
August, 2013
8th-10th
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