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    Stellar 1795 Half Dime, MS67 ★ , V-4, LM-10
    Given as a Birthday Present in 1795?

    1795 H10C MS67 ★ NGC. V-4, LM-10, R.3. A very late die state with a fully developed cud from the T of LIBERTY to star 9. Weak dentilation and an atrophied star 1 are evidence of repeated die lapping, probably to remove clash marks and hide die cracks. According to our research, this is the latest state of LM-10, which was also the final die marriage in this issue's emission sequence.
    For decades a story regarding a small cache of 1795 half dimes has been told, embellished, and recounted many times. Not surprisingly, it was Dave Bowers who set the record straight--or at least provided all known information regarding the hoard in a scholarly manner--in his 1997 American Coin Treasures and Hoards. Bowers indirectly cautions numismatists of the various spins that Walter Breen put on the tale between the early 1950s and the late 1980s. The earliest account of this mini-hoard was in W. Elliot Woodward's sale of the John F. McCoy Collection in May 1864. As such, reports that the hoard came out hiding in the 1870s, or even 1880 as suggested by Breen, are almost certainly erroneous. The same goes for the misnomer "Wadsworth-Rea hoard," which also originating with Breen.
    It is believed that a young lady by the name of Rea received a small group of freshly minted half dimes in 1795, reportedly as a birthday present. As the story goes, Rea retained possession of the Flowing Hair coins possibly as late as the early 1860s, at which time they were sold to an unknown numismatist. Woodward apparently got involved shortly thereafter, as evinced by the appearance of one piece in his May 1864 auction. As Bowers notes, "the quantity has been estimated at from a dozen or so up to 100 pieces," the latter figure being another Breen concoction.
    Of course it is not possible to state with absolute assurance that the current offering was part of Rea's hoard. However, based on the die variety, LM-10, the low population totals of MS67 survivors, and the stunning state of preservation, chances are that this splendid little half dime was part of her birthday present in 1795. A study of this issue suggests that the majority of the cache comprised LM-9 and LM-10 variants. Interestingly, we have had the privilege of auctioning three 1795 half dimes at the MS67 level during the past 15 years, and all were of different varieties: one each of LM-7, LM-8, and LM-9. The piece offered here--LM-10--completes the sequence. All three of the past specimens realized six-figure prices except for the July 2003 sale of the LM-9 coin, which "only" realized $94,875. Of course that was over five years ago. More recent appearances of MS67 Flowing Hair half dimes have witnessed more dramatic results. For example, a PCGS-certified LM-9 realized $184,000 in the January 2007 Orlando Sale by Stack's.
    This specimen is as eye appealing as it is well preserved. Liberty's silver-gray bust is framed by a sea of variegated ultramarine and amber iridescence on the obverse. The reverse coloration is dominated by russet and golden centers, with a blend of emerald, electric-blue, and chartreuse peripheral toning. Rich, unbroken luster illuminates the toning and the resulting eye appeal is breathtaking. Rea would be proud to know that her prized half dimes are as treasured today as they were to a young birthday girl in 1795.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 22ZV, PCGS# 4251)

    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
    January, 2009
    7th-11th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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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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