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    Rare 1796 16 Stars Half Dollar

    1796 50C 16 Stars Fine Details, Plugged, NCS. O-102, R.6. The Draped Bust half dollar with a Small Eagle reverse bears the dates 1796 and 1797, with each date consisting of two varieties. The first variety of the 1796 issue has 15 obverse stars (Overton 101), while the second variety has 16 stars (Overton 102). The 16 star variety apparently commemorated Tennessee's June 1, 1796 admission to the Union as the 16th state. It is interesting to note, however, that while the dies may have been prepared prior to this date, Mint records indicate that the first Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars were not delivered by the Chief Coiner until February 28, 1797. Breen speculates that, for the Tennessee celebrations, the 16-star die was used for a few prooflike presentation strikings, but not recorded as regular coinage. The present 16 star example is nicely centered, and has full Fine details, which are most notable on the obverse. Some of the reverse lettering along the right and left borders is worn smooth. The surfaces are unnaturally bright and moderately hairlined, but are retoning light gray and sky blue. A few light scratches are also noted on each side. The coin has been plugged at about 12 o'clock on the obverse, and some of the letters in LIBERTY have been reengraved (on the reverse, the last A of AMERICA and the fraction have also been reengraved). These same areas have also been extensively tooled. With only 3,918 Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars produced, and less than 300 estimated to have survived the ravages of time, even impaired specimens such as this one are in demand.
    From The Paulsboro Collection, Part Three. (#6058) (Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24EA, PCGS# 6058)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper


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

    View all of [The Paulsboro Collection, Part Three ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2004
    18th-21st Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,091

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    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.

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