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Extraordinary 1797 Half Cent, MS65 Brown
1797 1/2 C 1 Above 1, Plain Edge MS65 Brown NGC. C-1, B-1,
R.2. This is a remarkable example from the Eliasberg Collection,
and while not the finest known for the variety, it is clearly among
the best. It is the finest certified example, and it is also a
dramatic and highly popular variety. Regardless of the variety, few
high quality half cents of 1797 are known. In fact, this example is
one of just 11 Uncirculated 1797 half cents (of any variety) listed
in Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents.
Although that reference was published a quarter-century ago and
much has changed in the numismatic scene since that time, the
information contained therein still provides a good general
indication of the importance of such pieces.
1 Above 1 Variety, C-1
The 1797 1 Above 1 is the most plentiful variety of the date, with a small number of Mint State pieces known, and a number of others in XF and AU grades. When the die was made, the date was first started too high, crowding the bust of Liberty. Attempts were made to remove the errant date before repunching the digits in their correct position. Nearly the entire digit 1 remains visible from the original date, in the space above the final digit 1. Remnants of the other digits are also visible. This example is an early die state, struck just before Manley Die State 2.0. The obverse crack through the right side of B is visible, but there is no trace of the bulge left of L. Faint obverse clash marks are also evident.
The surfaces are lustrous with frosty medium brown color and traces of original red. The obverse is sharply defined, although slight low areas appear on Liberty's cheek. The reverse has some weakness in parts of the wreath. The impression is well centered with full borders, although they are narrow in places. This is the only MS65 half cent of the date that NGC has certified in any color. The only finer piece is a single MS66 Red and Brown (3/09). EAC 60.
Ex: Harlan P. Smith (S.H. & H. Chapman, 5/1906), lot 1195; J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 409.
From The Joseph C. Thomas Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 2228, PCGS# 1042)
View all of [The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part One ]
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