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    1801 Draped Bust Half Dime, MS66+
    Single Finest Known
    V-1, LM-2 Variety

    1801 H10C V-1 and V-2, LM-2, R.4, MS66+ PCGS. CAC. Ex: Simpson. The 1801 Draped Bust half dime claims a reported mintage of 27,760 pieces, with two die varieties known for the date. This coin represents the more available, but still scarce, LM-2 variety.

    Most 1801 half dimes are found in low grades, making attribution difficult for early researchers. Writing in 1883, Harold P. Newlin noted:

    "I have noticed no varieties. Specimens can be readily obtained in fair condition, but I have never seen an uncirculated one, nor do I believe one exists in the Numismatic world. I have carefully studied the catalogues of sales from 1859 to the present time and can find no mention of the sale of a perfect example of this date."

    Obviously, Newlin was unaware of this coin. Nor was he alone in not fully understanding all the 1801 Draped Bust intricacies. Most examples are indeed well-worn, and die damage incurred during coining adds to the confusion. When Daniel Valentine wrote his series reference in 1931, he mistakenly believed the known dies represented two different varieties (V-1 and V-2). Later research shows that his V-2 is actually a later die state of the V-1 dies, with a bisecting die crack through the 8 in the date to above B in LIBERTY. A "third" variety -- now identified as the rare V-3, LM-1 die pair -- was not discovered until 1986, and it is thankfully straightforward in its attribution. All varieties share the same reverse.

    The present coin is a splendid representative of the V-1, LM-2 variety in its early stage. The letters LIB in LIBERTY are widely spaced, while stars 1 through 3 are close together. A prominent die break is in fact a retained cud, which starts at the rim and travels through Y. It follows a semicircular path inside the stars on the right, and returns to the rim below star 13.

    High-grade examples of the 1801 half dime remain extremely elusive today regardless of variety. This Plus-graded Premium Gem displays a sharp strike in most areas, with just a touch of softness on the central reverse. PCGS has graded this coin in MS66+, with none finer. Finest example at NGC grades MS63 (6/20).

    In our opinion, this coin is the finest known, with no serious challenger. It has been the finest-certified example at either of the leading grading services since at least 1998. Prior to its appearance in the important Eugene H. Gardner Collection in October, 2014, the coin had been off the market for 16 years. After the Gardner auction, it settled in the incomparable Bob R. Simpson Collection. This coin gravitates into strong hands, and it does not take much insight to see that the opportunity to acquire this finest-known 1801 half dime may not recur for decades.
    Ex: James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 11/1989), lot 366; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1998), lot 88; Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part II (Heritage, 10/2014), lot 98171, as MS67 NGC; Bob R. Simpson Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2327, Variety PCGS# 38606, Base PCGS# 4267)

    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
    September, 2020
    17th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 31
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,377

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) 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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