Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    1796 Draped Bust Half, VG Details
    Rare Early Type Key

    1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, T-1, Amato-166, R.5 -- Repaired -- PCGS Genuine. VG Details. Tompkins Die State 5/3, with a faint die crack from the tip of U in UNITED to the rim near N. The Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars of 1796 and 1797 are premier rarities in the U.S. federal series. Both dates share a paltry mintage of 3,918 pieces, and the issues constitute a desirable two-year design type. Two die varieties are known for the 1796 half dollar. This coin represents the O-101 variety, with 15 stars on the obverse.

    This impressive O-101 specimen displays silver devices that are highlighted against mauve and bluish fields that take on deeper gunmetal-gray around portions of the borders. While most of the design elements lack much internal detail, they are strongly outlined and differentiated from the fields. This specimen exhibits the typically-seen die crack from the rim at 5 o'clock that makes a right turn in the drapery and then connects stars 15, 14, and 13. Three shallow, toned-over light scratches in the central reverse may help to identify the coin. Liberty's portrait has been subjected to some sort of abrasive (perhaps in an attempt to remove what looks like a shallowly engraved "P") that has left several mostly-vertical, hairline scratches that are visible under high magnification. When viewed only with the naked eye, the blemishes on this piece are not readily apparent and this coin will be a welcome addition to an advanced collection or type set.
    Ex: NASCA Sale (RARCOA, 2/1972), lot 345; Dallas Signature (Heritage, 7/2006), lot 2394.
    From The McDonald Family Collection.

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

    View all of [The McDonald Family Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    20th-23rd Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 42
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 430

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

    The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 by Jon Amato

    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.

    Order Now! Just $59.95

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 9 days left to consign to the 2020 August 5 - 7 ANA Worlds' Fair of Money World Coins Signature Auction - Pittsburgh!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks to Heritage I realized a handsome profit for my coin submissions and intend to send most of the remainder of my collection to Heritage Auction Galleries for future auctions.
    Terrance Syrek
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search