Description

    1797 Half Dollar, O-101a, XF45
    Original and Problem-Free
    Key to a U.S. Type Set

    1797 50C XF45 NGC. O-101a, High R.4 The 1797 half dollar, along with its 1796-dated companion, is one of the keys to the entire United States type series. This design type, which consists of a Draped Bust Liberty on the obverse and a Small Eagle on the reverse, is sometimes considered a transitional one between the Flowing Hair motif on the half dimes, half dollars, and dollars dated 1794 and 1795, and the Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle design on the half dimes (1800-1805), dimes (1798-1807), quarters (1804-1807), half dollars (1801-1807), and dollars (1798-1803).
    The Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar series was produced with three obverse and two reverse dies. The first reverse die was paired with all three obverses (1796 15 stars, 1796 16 stars, and 1797). The reverse shattered during its use with the 1797 obverse, and was replaced with a new reverse die. The coin presented in this lot exhibits the first (cracked) reverse. A prominent crack travels from the upper part of the eagle's right (left facing) wing, through the leaves, to the rim at 9:30. Another crack extends from this one through the bases of the ST in STATES where it intersects a crack from the rim at 10:30 that travels through the first T and wreath to the eagle's neck. Another crack from the rim travels through the right side of the O in OF and crosses the palm leaves to the lower part of the left (right facing) wing.
    This Choice XF example displays pleasing light silver-gray patination imbued with traces of gold-beige and powder-blue. The design elements retain nice detail, with most of Liberty's hair strands and the eagle's wing feathers showing; the eagle's torso, legs, and neck are somewhat smooth. Most of the dentilation is strong, and is visible on both sides. Some faint pinscratch-like marks are noted on Liberty's portrait under high magnification, and a light arrowpoint-like mark is located near the rim midway between the last S of STATES and the O in OF; these do not distract, and may serve as pedigree markers. No adjustment marks are seen on either side.
    In summary, this is a fabulous coin for the collector seeking to complete a type set of U.S. coinage or a collection of early half dollars. Better-grade examples such as this do not come along that frequently. Moreover, extant pieces of this design type are often found with impairments of one kind or another. We expect, therefore, that this original, problem-free piece will receive considerable attention from advanced numismatists.
    Ex: Lee S. Miller Collection (Stack's, 6/1966), lot 817; Auction '89 (RARCOA session, 7/1989), lot 201; Superior Galleries (2/2006, lot 681; Heritage Auctions (8/2006), lot 5224.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24EC, PCGS# 6060)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2012
    3rd-8th Tuesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,314

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% 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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