1797 Draped Bust Half Dollar, O-101a, VG8
    Late Die State

    1797 50C VG8 PCGS. O-101a, High R.4. The Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar, bearing the date 1796 or 1797, is a "must have" coin for collectors attempting to complete a type collection of U.S. coins. The paltry mintage of 3,918 pieces, low survival rate of fewer than 300 specimens, and intense demand by type and date/variety specialists result in the 1796-1797 half having the highest price in most grades of all type coins, irrespective of metal content. Even well-worn pieces with impairments bring five-figure prices in today's market, and mid- and high-grade examples are out of reach for most collectors. The lower-grade 1797 Very Good 8 offering in the present lot is thus an excellent choice for acquiring an acceptable example of this coveted design type.

    The obverse is relatively well-defined for the designated grade. Liberty's hair, while heavily worn, still shows some separation of hair strands and is completely separated from the shoulder. The eye and ear show clearly, as do portions of the hair ribbon. Indeed, it is the opinion of this cataloger that the obverse grades at least VG10, and may have claims to Fine 12. The reverse lettering is strong save for indistinctness in CA of AMERICA, and parts of the right (facing) wing are merging with the field. The wreath and fraction exhibit nice detail. Both sides display light gray patina overall with darker accents surrounding the devices. Light pinscratches can be seen with magnification on both obverse and reverse, but are undistracting. The die crack traveling through the bottom of ST in STATES and intersecting the crack from the rim at 9:30 attests to the terminal (or near terminal) state of the reverse die. A prominent planchet lamination that extends from the D in UNITED to the eagle's lower neck will help identify the coin. This is an extremely important opportunity for the advanced type or date/variety specialist.

    This coin is unlisted in The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 reference work by Jon Amato, edited by Jim Halperin and Mark Van Winkle.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24EC, 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.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2013
    8th-10th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,434

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) 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.

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