Near-Gem 1794 Flowing Hair Half Dime
1794 H10C MS64 PCGS. CAC. V-2, LM-2, R.5. Of the four known
varieties of 1794 half dimes, only the V-1, LM-1, at R.6 (19-24
pieces known in all grades), is considered rarer than the V-2,
LM-2, at R.5 (45-60 pieces known). It perhaps goes without saying
that an example in the present MS64 grade of either variety is far
more elusive than those absolute rarity rankings.
Second-Rarest Variety of This First-Year Type
On the obverse, the 1 in the date is under the right center of curl 1, equidistant between the curl and dentils. Star 1 touches curl 1 and curl 2, and the base of the 4 (barely visible here due to strike irregularity) almost touches a dentil. The reverse shows a leaf pair below the second S in STATES, and a leaf point ends beneath the center of the U in UNITED. Logan and John McCloskey write that the LM-2 is "a scarce die marriage that is hard to locate in Mint State."
The present near-Gem example is richly toned in dove-gray, dusky powder-blue, and apricot. The crisp strike has created bold hair locks and star centrils; the only mentionable strike softness is on the eagle's breast feathers. Most of the dentilation shows, and the design elements are well-centered on the planchet. A Mint-made thin planchet streak below the eagle's right (facing) wing and a faint pinscratch on Liberty's chin are inoffensive and appear not to limit the grade.
The Flowing Hair half dime type was only produced for two years, and the initial 1794 issue is much scarcer than its 1795 counterpart. Population for all varieties (most of which are, we suspect, either LM-3 or LM-4): 10 in 64 (1 in 64+), 9 finer (2/13). The finest LM-2 that PCGS has certified with the variety number, PCGS #38582, is an XF45.
Ex: Central States Signature (Heritage, 5/2004), lot 6451, which brought $37,950; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 837, which realized $40,250.
From The Jim O'Neal Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 22ZT, PCGS# 4250)
Weight: 1.35 grams
Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper
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