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    Description

    1797 O-102 Half Dollar, AU55+
    Second Finest in Amato Census

    1797 50C O-102, T-2, High R.5, AU55+ PCGS Secure. Amato-501. According to Mint delivery records, the total production of the Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollars was 3,918 coins. Apparently all of these coins were deposited at the Bank of the United States in Philadelphia. The mintage figure was a production total for 1796 and 1797 half dollars. Less than 300 examples of the Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollars survive for all four varieties from 1796 and 1797. The only rarer design types in American numismatics are gold coins: the 1796 No Stars quarter eagles and the 1808 quarter eagles. Due to the research of the late Dr. Jon P. Amato, published in 2012 as The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797, Numismatic Background and Census, we know that nearly equal numbers of 1796 and 1797 half dollars survive today, so we can assume that approximately equal numbers were produced.

    Approximately 135 examples of both varieties survive today, including eight Mint State pieces and three AU examples, so the present representative ranks among the 10 finest 1797 half dollars. Just 35 examples of the 1797 O-102 half dollar appeared in Jon Amato's Condition Census that was published in 2012. Two additional examples have appeared since then. A single Mint State example is graded MS61 NGC, and this piece is the second finest survivor from the O-102 dies. Just nine other examples grade better than Fine, including one XF with environmental damage, and eight VF pieces. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollars are extremely rare as a type, and the 1797 O-102 is the rarest of four varieties.

    This lovely example features brilliant silver surfaces with delicate gold toning that enhances the prooflike obverse and reverse. The strike is exceptionally strong for a 1797 half dollar. When the famous Charles Jay Collection sold 50 years ago, this piece realized the 10th highest price in the sale, and it tied for the second highest price in its 1973 auction appearance. The next year, it tied for the seventh highest price in its 1974 appearance, and has been off the market since that time. Past owners of this piece have described it as "the foremost prize of their collection" and we have no doubt that the next owner will share that enthusiasm.
    Ex: Charles Jay Collection (Stack's, 10/1967), lot 153, which realized $5,000; John Cobb (5/1968), lot 1187; Westwood Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, privately, 1971); Terrell Collection (Bowers and Ruddy's American Auction Association, 5/1973), lot 58, which realized $16,000; Bowers and Ruddy (5/1974), lot 679, which realized $13,500.
    From The Estate of S. Gus and Louise Alexander. (NGC ID# 24EC, Variety PCGS# 39266, Base PCGS# 6060)

    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 Estate of S. Gus and Louise Alexander ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    25th-29th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,238

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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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