1794 Half Dollar, O-101, Patinated MS61
1794 50C MS61 NGC. O-101, R.4. A melange of attractive
electric-blue, violet, and lavender patination dominates the
obverse of this MS61 half dollar, while reddish- and golden-orange
joins the color palette on the reverse. The design elements are
well-struck, including relatively strong definition in Liberty's
hair strands, the star centers along the left border, the eagle's
wing plumage, and most of the wreath. The dentilation is bold on
both sides, and the motifs are well-centered on the planchet. A
scattering of light contact marks are visible, slightly more so on
the obverse. What appears to be a shallow planchet flaw appears in
the field between Liberty's nose and stars 9 and 10. Several light,
intersecting diagonal adjustment marks occur in the central reverse
but do not significantly impede the eagle's detail. All in all,
this specimen exhibits fairly nice eye appeal for the grade
designation, as both post-strike and as-made marks are fewer and
less severe than what might be expected for an MS61. This piece
will fit comfortably in a high-grade collection of U.S.
Rare in Mint Condition
Variety: O-101, R.4. Star 1 pierces the lowest curl near its center, a point of star 15 joins the lower edge of the bust, and there are 21 berries, 10 left and 11 right -- the only reverse with 21 berries.
Population (5/14): The 1794 is extremely rare in Mint State. NGC has graded three 1794 half dollars as MS61, two in MS62, and one MS63. PCGS has seen two in MS61 and one in MS64.
Heritage Commentary: The 1794 was the first issue of U.S. half dollars, and it and the 1795, a much more-available issue, together constitute the two-year Flowing Hair design type. Two deliveries totaled the entire production run of 23,464 coins dated 1794. The 1795 issue, from a hefty mintage of 299,680 pieces, is obviously the date sought by type collectors, given its far larger production.
Provenance: Purchased from David Lawrence (10/2003).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24E6, PCGS# 6051)
Weight: 13.48 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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The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato is the culmination of more than 10 years of research into the Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar series, one of the most coveted type coins in American numismatics and one about which remarkably little has been written.
This work will be the premier reference for 1796-1797 half dollars for years to come. Institutions having an extensive numismatic library or coin cabinet will find it a valuable complement to their holdings, and catalogers charged with writing up specimens for auction can now have an indispensable source of background and pedigree information. Likewise, coin dealers seeking to purchase one or more '96 or '97 half dollars for a client or for inventory, and collectors who own, have owned, or desire to own one will want this important reference work for their libraries.
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