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    Description

    1797 C-3b Lettered Edge Half Cent, XF40
    The Norweb Condition Census Piece

    1797 1/2 C Lettered Edge, Low Head, C-3b, B-3a, R.4, XF40 NGC. 81.2 grains. Breen Die State II. Manley Die State 1.0. The edge is lettered TWO HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR as in 1793 through 1795. However, the thinner planchet means the edge lettering is missing the tops and/or bottoms of most letters, as on all known examples of the 1797 Lettered Edge half cents.

    The 1797 Lettered Edge variety was first described in an Edward Cogan catalog of May 1860, and has been known as a rarity ever since then, although many lower grade coins have been identified over the last 50 years. Roger S. Cohen, Jr. assigned a rarity of R.5 in 1971 and R.4 in 1982. Walter Breen rated the variety High R.4 in 1983. Ronald Manley provided an R.4 rating in 1998. William Eckberg suggested a population of 75 coins in 2019.

    This particular coin was the subject of an undated note from John J. Ford, Jr. to Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, stating that Walter Breen called this coin, that he graded VF20, the finest known to him. The language in Ford's note suggests that Breen was the seller: "Walter Breen says Kagin's 1797 half cent, G-1, is the finest known to him; Walter calls it VF-20 and wants $450 plus your [duplicate] coin." Many years later, this example was not included in the Breen-Hanson Condition Census, although it certainly qualified.

    Sharply struck although imperfectly centered, this piece has the sharpness of a strong Very Fine, VF30 or VF35, with a few scattered handling marks. The semi-glossy surfaces are medium brown with a few steel-brown toning splashes. Border dentilation is missing from 12 o'clock to 3:30 on the obverse and from 1:30 to 5:30 on the reverse. Many coins from these dies have similar imperfect centering that does not impact the grade. Our EAC grade VF25.
    Ex: Hollinbeck Coin Company (privately, 11/11/1956); Walter Breen; Norweb Family Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 27; Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2U6H, Variety PCGS# 35113, Base PCGS# 1033)

    Weight: 6.74 grams

    Metal: 100% Copper


    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 33
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 410

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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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