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    Beautifully Toned 1794 Half Dime MS62

    1794 H10C MS62 PCGS. V-2, LM-2, R.5. Light apple-green and plum iridescence consume the centers, and the borders offer bright rose and gold tints. The surfaces are surprisingly unabraded, and the strike is consistently crisp save for slight softness on the berries near the TA in STATES. These berries are opposite the high relief hair locks near the lower left border of Liberty's bust. While other 1794 half dimes are known in Uncirculated grades, and several of these are presumably also attractively toned, the absence of detrimental marks places the present piece within a very select grouping. Although the 1794 dollar receives all the auction glory, half dollars and half dimes were also struck with the same date. These represent the first silver issues from the U.S. Mint. Copper cents and half cents were struck at the facility as early as 1793. Among these different 1794-dated types, the half dime was unique in that the denomination was not expressed anywhere on the coin. The half dollars and dollars bore edge inscriptions that stated the value, and the half cents and cents were each denominated two different ways within the reverse legends. The Flowing Hair half dime type has a reeded edge, and was only produced for two years, before the Draped Bust motif began its reign. Among the two Flowing Hair half dime dates, the 1794 is certainly scarcer, since the LM-8 and LM-10 are relatively available by the difficult standards of early silver U.S. coinage.
    A handwritten letter from Walter Breen, dated April 27, 1991, accompanies the lot. In the letter, Breen writes concerning the present piece: "It is a 1794 half dime, Valentine 1 (sic), Breen 1-A, Encyclopedia 2965: Wide date, right branch ends in double leaf. Low rarity 7, possibly the 10th example known, possibly the 4th with any claim to mint state. Even Garrett's was only AU+." Breen was incorrect. The variety is V-2, which shares the same reverse die and also has a wide date, although the date is not as wide as on the rare V-1, LM-1.
    From The Royal Oak Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 22ZT, PCGS# 4250)

    Weight: 1.35 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Royal Oak Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2006
    13th-14th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
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    Numismatic Background and Census of 1802 Half Dimes: A Classic American Rarity
    This 64-page book cites mintage and rarity estimates by prominent numismatists and documents the currently known 1802 half dime appearances. Each of the 32 documented examples includes an enlarged obverse/reverse photograph, the author's assigned grade, the provenance of each coin, auction prices realized or dealer fixed asking price, and a unique serial number for each specimen that will facilitate retrieval for research, cataloging, or price-information purposes. Reserve your copy of this remarkable volume for just $29.95 today.
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