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Auction: 23006 - The Official COINEX Auction at Spink
Lot: 434

NGC VF Details | United States of America, "Draped Bust" Half-Dollar, 1797 50C [8/7 Stars], Philadelphia, by Robert Scot and John Eckstein, draped bust of Lady Liberty right, LIBERTY above, 1797 below, eight stars behind, seven stars before, rev. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in large lettering, outstretched "small" eagle right inside wreath, ½ beneath bow, FIFTY *** CENTS ***[*]* OR ***** HALF ** A ** DOLLA[*]R [***] downwards and double-struck [?] on edge, 13.262g, 6h (O-101a [Dies 1/1]; Amato unlisted [High R4+]; PCGS #39265 [Variety]; PCGS #6060 [Base]; NGC ID 24EC), a brighter example with more extensive scuffing, tool-marks and historic scratches across fields as often encountered with this fabled 'two-year' type, a trace of adjustment marks to peripheries, otherwise attractively uniform for strike with wisps of original tone in recesses, struck details only very fine or near so with the usual die deterioration through second star and before D of UNITED, nevertheless a rightfully celebrated and classic early-American rarity, with fewer than 300 specimens of any grade thought to exist from a paltry estimated mintage of 2,984 pieces; this example making its debut at international numismatic auction, in NGC holder, fairly graded VF Details ~ Scratches (Cert. #6768678-001)


Great Western Auctions, 31 March - 1 April 2023, lot 2640
A Previously Unrecorded [Amato] Specimen, the Property of a Scottish Estate

The Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar of 1796 to 1797 is widely recognised as one of the most challenging design types in early US numismatics. Only four die marriages comprise this brief type, two each for 1796 and 1797. Unlike the two varieties of the 1796, both varieties of the 1797 issue feature the same obverse die with 15 stars around the obverse periphery. (The 1796 O-101 is also a 15 Stars obverse, but the 1796 O-102 is a 16 Stars variety.) The star count suggests that the obverse die of the 1797 issue was created early in 1796 before the admission of Tennessee as the 16th State in the Union on June 1 of that year. If so, the die was probably left undated, with the date 1797 added when the die was put into production that year. On the other hand, the 1797-dated obverse die could have been produced in late 1796 or 1797 with the engraver simply making a mistake in the use of 15 as opposed to 16 stars.

The single obverse die of the 1797 half dollar was paired with two reverse dies. The reverse used in the O-101 pairing was previously used in both the 1796 O-101 and O-102 marriages. The 1797 O-101 is the most frequently encountered variety of the Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar, but we caution bidders that the type as a whole is highly elusive. The combined mintage for both the 1796 and 1797 issues is only 3,918 coins, delivered as follows:

1 - 60 coins on February 28, 1797, probably all dated 1796.

2 - 874 coins on March 21, 1797, again probably all dated 1796.

3 - 2,984 coins on May 26, 1797, probably a mix of examples dated 1796 and 1797.

No more than 300 or so coins of this type are believed extant, including examples from both 1796- and 1797-dated dies. Only an estimated 1,984 pieces were produced for 1797 according to recent calculations by Steve M. Tompkins, from which no more than 150 pieces dated 1797 now survive.

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£20,000 to £24,000

Starting price