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    1794 Flowing Hair Half Dime, MS65
    V-3, LM-3, The Eliasberg Coin

    1794 H10C V-3, LM-3, R.4, MS65 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Eliasberg. The 1996 Eliasberg Sale offered three memorable, high-grade 1794 half dimes that have served as benchmarks for collectors over the years. This exceptional coin is one of them. Two of the three coins were deemed "presentation pieces" by Walter Breen, and again, this coin is one of them. Now, nearly 20 years since that sale, the presentation-piece status is no longer universally accepted, yet the coins themselves remain an unquestioned standard for quality, and are highly valued for their provenance.

    The present coin is the V-3, LM-3 variety, slightly less available than the LM-4 die marriage, but more often seen than either the LM-1 or the LM-2 die pairs. The date position helps identify the variety, with the 1 close to the right center of the lowermost curl, its right upright edge centered over a dentil. The digits 794 get progressively closer to the dentils, with the 4 nearly touching one at its right base. The 4 is noticeably repunched south. The reverse confirms the die pair by two inner berries and and one outer berry beneath the left wing.

    The coin is struck from the second use of the obverse die, with a major die crack from the rim across the lowermost point of star 6, through the hair, emerging below the E of LIBERTY and to the rim. The variety is the sole use of the reverse die -- which also cracked -- with a die break from the R of AMERICA through the inner leaves to the eagle's tail, where it joins a second crack running vertically from the rim into the tail.

    Despite the rudimentary conditions at the new Mint and the cracked dies, the coin is sharply struck. The hair strands are particularly bold on Liberty's flowing tresses. The eagle displays considerable detail on its rounded breast. The fields are clearly prooflike when viewed at an angle on both sides of the coin, a fact Breen confirmed in his Encyclopedia of Proof Coins: "V-3 (Newlin 4). Close date, the 1 4 very close to hair and bust, berry almost touches I of UNITED. Eliasberg's is a presentation piece, similarly struck to last."

    The Eliasberg catalog was a bit circumspect about the "presentation piece" attribution, but not about the surfaces of the coin: "Fully prooflike pale gold with vivid blue, green, and russet toning. A tiny planchet lamination is visible in the right obverse field between the base of Y and Liberty's forehead. No adjustment marks are to be found."

    Mint luster shines through the aged patina with pleasing reflectivity. The small, cigar-shaped planchet void described above serves as a marker to confirm the pedigree of this remarkable coin, rather than as any kind of distraction. Few 1794 half dimes exceed this half dime in quality, and none surpass its pedigree -- a connoisseur's coin, destined only for the finest cabinet. Population: 9 in 65 (1 in 65+), 1 finer (2/15). (NGC ID# 22ZT, Variety PCGS# 38583, Base 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.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
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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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