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    Description

    1797 Half Dollar, AU Sharpness
    Famous and Challenging O-102 Variety

    1797 50C O-102, T-2, High R.5 -- Improperly Cleaned -- NGC Details. AU. Amato Unlisted. The Overton-102 (T-2) 1797 Small Eagle half dollars are always in demand as the rarest variety of the rarest design type in all of U.S. silver coinage. A total of 3,918 Small Eagle halves were struck, about evenly split between the 1796 and 1797-dated coins. Two varieties of 1797 halves exist, of which the O-102 is by far the rarest. The late Dr. Jon P. Amato published a most comprehensive Condition Census of 1796 and 1797 half dollars in his 2012 book, The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797, Numismatic Background and Census. In that ambitious book, Dr. Amato identified just 35 1797 O-102 specimens. A handful of additional specimens have come to light since that Condition Census was released, and the present coin ranks high among the newly recorded examples.

    The frequently updated Census by Stephen Herrman is perhaps the most up-to-date snapshot of the finest O-102 pieces known. According to the Spring, 2018 listing, the Census is 61,55,50,40,35,30 as of (6/18). The XF40 coin is net-graded by ANACS. Here, the present unlisted example is certified AU Details by NGC, with solid About Uncirculated sharpness throughout both sides. The surfaces are microscopically porous but only a bit subdued, as traces of luster linger across the silver-gray surfaces with a pale-gold hue. A few random marks exist outside of stars 9 to 13, and a quartet of short pinscratches are visible with a lens in the left obverse field. On the reverse, marks consist of mint-related adjustment marks that radiate inward from the margins, plus some light pinscratches beneath the eagle's right wing. Faint hairlines from cleaning remain on both sides.

    In hand, the coin is pleasing and remarkably sharp for the date and variety. No more than two or three known O-102 examples exceed it in that regard. This is an exceptional opportunity for the variety specialist to obtain a visually impressive example of the rare and challenging variety. For many who seek to complete the rare superfecta of all four 1796-1797 Small Eagle varieties, it presents a chance to acquire the only true "stopper" in that short set, a major accomplishment achieved by only a small number of advanced early half collectors.


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    14th-19th Tuesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 683

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) 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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    We also followed the bidding online yesterday here in Salt Lake for the other 3 coins - great fun. Prices realized met or exceeded our expectations.
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