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    1797 Gripped Edge Half Cent
    C-3c, Good Details
    Guide Book Key

    1797 1/2 C Gripped Edge, Low Head, C-3c, B-3b, Low R.7 -- Tooled -- PCGS Genuine. Good Details. The gripped edge 1797 half cent is the key variety in a Guide Book collection of half cents, even more coveted than the 1796 No Pole, the 1802/0 Reverse of 1800, and the 1831 business strike. All of the dozen or so known are in low grades, with the finest example (the Hanson specimen from the Missouri Cabinet) graded net VG8 by EAC standards. The discovery coin for the variety appeared as lot 281 in S.K. Harzfeld's January 1881 auction of the H. Rogers Collection, but since Matthew Stickney owned an example, he may have recognized the significance of the variety before anyone else.

    Ron Manley concluded that the gripped edge examples were struck after the lettered edge C-3b, but before the plain edge C-3a. Breen describes the edge variety as "vertical indentations with some raised marks ... analogous to that on the cents of 1797, Sheldon 120-121, but the grip marks are not spaced quite the same as on the cents." Breen theorizes that the edge markings were formed by either a planchet cutter or "some kind of plain ridged edge dies."

    On the present lot, the central reverse displays subtle vertical marks from burnishing, and the left reverse displays a few hair-thin marks. The deep brown surfaces are otherwise evenly granular, and are void of pitting or spots. The date and LIBERTY are bold, as is the fraction and UNITED. The portrait is nicely outlined, and two-thirds of the wreath is clear. The upper right reverse is well worn. Struck a few degrees off center toward 3:30. The obverse field is bulged near 3 o'clock, as made and usual for the variety. The edge is intermittently visible within the PCGS holder. We can locate no prior appearance of a gripped edge 1797 half cent in a Heritage auction, a further confirmation of its rarity and numismatic importance. Our EAC grade AG3.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2U6J, Variety PCGS# 35116, Base PCGS# 1039)

    Weight: 6.74 grams

    Metal: 100% Copper

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    7th-11th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,443

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

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