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    Amazing 1794 V-2, LM-2 Half Dime, Specimen-65

    1794 H10C SP65 NGC. V-2, LM-2, R.5. The V-2, LM-2 die marriage is seldom seen in grades of MS60 or finer, and rarely with the splendid mirror surfaces that this example exhibits. Although the strike is somewhat blunt at the centers, at the lower hair curls, and at the top edges of the eagle's wings, the existing detail is clearly equal to the Eliasberg example that Walter Breen called a "Presentation Piece." In his Proof Encyclopedia, Breen recorded three different Presentation Piece 1794 half dimes, one each of V-1, V-2, and V-3. The present example is a different coin than the Eliasberg example of the die marriage. It is only the fifth Gem or finer 1794 half dime to appear in our auctions since 1993. Breen made a suggestion that the Presentation Piece half dimes may have been struck in 1794, with the first circulation strikes coined several weeks later in 1795. Without documentation to support his claim, we are unable to confirm such an idea. The first recorded delivery of half dimes was dated March 30, 1795. It is doubtful that any of those coins were actually struck in 1794.
    The major grading services, including NGC and PCGS, have assigned Specimen status to a number of early coins that are truly special pieces. NGC has certified two examples as Specimen-64 and this piece as Specimen-65, and PCGS has certified a single 1794 half dime as Specimen 67. While there is no documentary evidence, the surviving coins clearly are special pieces. In his description of this piece back in 2005, Dave Bowers wrote: "there are certain early U.S. Mint coins, as here, that are different. These may be extremely early die states-so-called "first strikes" in modern parlance-or perhaps for some reason or other the planchet received a bit of extra polishing." There is little doubt that this coin is clearly something special, possibly made for presentation purposes, or perhaps merely made with a little more care. Perhaps a Mint workman acquired it as a souvenir of his employment, or a sample of his personal handiwork.
    The golden obverse of this nicely preserved example is silver-gray with lovely violet and cobalt-blue toning, while the reverse has variegated blue, pale green, gold, and lilac toning. The obverse field is entirely prooflike and the reverse is satiny with reflective fields. All of the stars, letters, numerals, and central devices are bold, and crisply join the fields. A few grade-consistent hairlines on each side are the only noticeable imperfections on this piece.
    Ex: American Numismatic Rarities (7/2005), lot 877.
    From The Joseph C. Thomas 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 Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part One ]

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    Auction Dates
    Apr-May, 2009
    29th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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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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