Important 1797 Fifty Cent, Fine 12, O-101a1797 50C Fine 12 PCGS. O-101a, High R.4. Presented in this lot is perhaps the most important and desirable type coin in American numismatics, the 1796-1797 Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar (from a mintage of 3,918 pieces). This is not the rarest of United States type coins--that honor goes to the one-year types 1796 No Stars and the 1808 quarter eagles, with mintages of 963 and 2,710 pieces respectively. The Small Eagle half, however, has the greatest collector demand, which is reflected in it having the highest price, grade for grade, of any U.S. type coin.
This Fine 12 example displays silvery design elements highlighted by medium gray-tan fields, accented with whispers of green and red at the obverse margins. Liberty's hair is well defined for the grade designation. Indeed, all elements are quite sharp, except for the tops of the letters RICA in AMERICA that are merged with the rim. The surfaces on both sides are relatively clean for a coin that has seen moderate circulation. Minute marks below and left of the date, and another between the D of UNITED and the S of STATES are mentioned solely for identification purposes. There are no adjustment marks visible. This specimen exhibits a faint incipient crack from star 2 to the second curl, another from the rim at 9 o'clock through the leaves to the wing, and another from the first T in STATES to the neck, indicative of the early state of O-101a. Housed in a green-label holder. All in all, this is a problem-free coin that is very pleasing for the grade. As such, it will serve as the cornerstone to a U.S. type collection or a date/variety collection of Bust halves.
From The Casa Becca del Norté Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24EC, PCGS# 6060)
Weight: 13.48 grams
Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper
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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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