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    1802 Half Dime, Well-Defined VF Details
    A Classic American Rarity, V-1, LM-1
    The Menjou-Ebsen Coin

    1802 H10C V-1, LM-1, R.5 -- Obverse Graffiti, Bent -- NGC Details. VF. The 1802 half dime is one of the classic rarities in United States numismatics. David Davis, in his 1998 extensive research on this issue, documented 167 appearances for the nearly 140-year period between 1859 and January 1998, an average number of only about one appearance per year. This severely limits the opportunity for a collector seeking to acquire an example of this elusive rarity.

    It is obvious that not many 1802 half dimes survived the ravages of time. Indeed, 40 to 50 examples are generally thought to be extant. Our ongoing research into the rarity of this issue currently documents 31 distinct specimens, including the present offering. It is no wonder that even the most advanced collections, including many of the "big name" ones, lack this classic piece of Americana.

    Not only are precious few 1802 half dimes known, but most exhibit one or more impairments. In fact, 23 of the 31 examples that we have documented to exist, more than 74 percent, show various problems. The most frequently seen impairment is some form of Damage such as cuts, dents, hits, digs, and gouges, followed by Deep Scratches and long or patches of Pinscratches. Some examples have also been bent, are porous, have been cleaned or whizzed, or possess graffiti.

    The present VF Details example displays attractive grayish-gold patina, imbued with soft violet and gold highlights on the reverse. The design elements are well defined for a mid-grade 1802 half dime. Specifically, the left margins on both sides (typically very weak) have an above-average strike. Additionally, Liberty's hair is strong, as is the eye and most of the shield lines. Clouds 4 and 5, elements that are often very weak or missing on most examples, display a modicum of detail. Ten of the reverse stars show, with the remaining three being virtually absent as seen on virtually all known examples. The planchet is slightly bent and the letters "GW" are faintly etched on the lower part of Liberty's portrait. The latter graffiti and minute contact marks on the chin and left of the mouth help to pedigree the coin, as do light horizontal adjustment marks on the lower part of the right (facing) wing. This is an infrequent opportunity to obtain a well-defined, attractively toned 1802 half dime that may well claim a numerical grade of VF25 Details.
    Ex: A.W. Jackman Collection (H. Chapman, 6/1918), lot 640; Adolf Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 97; Major Lennox Lohr Collection (Stack's, 10/1956), lot 240; Buddy Ebsen Collection (Superior Galleries, 5/1987), lot 459; Rich Uhrich Collection (Stack's, 2/2008), lot 1441.

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

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    10th-14th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 705

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% 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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