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    1800 Half Dime, Incredible MS66
    High Condition Census for the V-2, LM-3 Variety
    Ex: Norweb, In a Doily Label Holder

    1800 H10C LIBEKTY, V-2, LM-3, R.4, MS66 PCGS. CAC. Without hesitation, this 1800 half dime is an extraordinary coin, among the finer-known representatives of the date overall, and high in the Condition Census (possibly tied at the top) for the LM-3 variety, one of the famous LIBEKTY die pairings. It is one of only two 1800 half dimes at PCGS in MS66, the other coin also an LM-3 example. A single MS68 coin is finer at that service, a representative of the slightly more plentiful LM-1 die pairing (7/15). However, what makes this coin special far transcends the grade. This coin is last known to have appeared as lot 310 in the Norweb Collection, Part I (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), where it was heralded for its quality and sharpness of strike, not having the die bulging in the central reverse that is so common to LM-3 representatives. So unusual was this, that the cataloger of the Norweb sale suggested that the coin had been struck twice. Although a second die impression is unlikely, the sharpness of this coin is exceptional, spanning not only the central devices, but also the stars and most of the border details. The cloud below OF on the reverse shows weakness, but is the only such occurrence on the coin. The obverse fields display a touch of semiprooflike mirroring, and both sides are delicately toned in original lilac-gray, gold, and amber hues. Both sides show moderate strike doubling, most prominent on the peripheral legends and Liberty's profile.

    The Norweb sale also contained a second Uncirculated example of this date and variety, one which was rated as slightly finer than this piece from a technical standpoint (called "MS-65" in that catalog versus this piece's description as "MS-64 to 65"), and was later noted in the Logan-McCloskey reference as being an example of notable importance. In reality, however, the present coin is far sharper, and the overall eye appeal is superior. This is reflected in the prices realized by these two coins in the Norweb sale: this beautifully sharp example garnered an impressive $44,000, while the other LM-3 coin fell short at $37,400. This piece is now certified in a doily label PCGS holder as MS66, and its counterpart is in a close-but-no-cigar grade of MS65+ PCGS. It is clear that this piece is and always has been the finer coin.

    The population of 1800 half dimes in MS66 and finer grades, regardless of variety, is so thin that any such coin appearing at auction is a headlining event. In more than two decades, this is the only example we have handled finer than MS65. The most comparable coin we have ever offered was an MS65 PCGS LM-3 representative in lot 2745 of our 2008 FUN Signature sale which brought $80,500, and even that piece pales in comparison to this Norweb coin. The NGC Census lists three additional pieces in MS66 (two of which are attributed as LM-3 examples), with two finer in MS67 and MS68, respectively (7/15). Resubmissions may be reflected in these figures, as none of these coins are known to have yet appeared at auction. Another opportunity to bid on an MS66 example of this issue may not occur for years, and it may be even longer before this remarkable coin is again offered.
    Ex: Norweb Collection, Part I (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 310. (NGC ID# 2326, Variety PCGS# 38603, Base PCGS# 4265)

    Weight: 1.35 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,476

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    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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