The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797

by Jon Amato

The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797

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.

We have set up this special page as an additional resource for the book. Here readers can view new 1796-1797 half dollar discoveries. If you have a 1796-1797 half dollar that you would like included here, please contact Jon Amato at:

Jon P. Amato
PO Box 5535
Albany, NY 12205
JonA@HA.com


Entry #20, August 2014

Heritage Auctions sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar from the Oliver Jung Collection (Ex: Baldenhofer, Norweb, Koshkarian) in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association and the 2014 World's Fair of Money Convention in Chicago, August 7, 2014.

1797, O-101a 1797, O-101a
From Heritage Auctions, August 2014
1797, O-101a

Lot 5582, 1797, O-101a, PCGS Secure MS65+, CAC, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $1,292,500 (Coin Serial Number 400).


Entry #19, August 2014

1797, O-101a 1797, O-101a
From "a Southern Collector"
1796 16 Stars, O-102, early die state

A Southern Collector's Specimen.

Grade: Very Fine obverse, Fine reverse.

Identification Markers: Curving mark on drapery above 6 in date. Rim ding right of star 14. Milling mark to right of chin opposite star 14. Small mark halfway between star 5 and lower hair ribbon. Small mark just to lower right of fourth inside laurel leaf. Small mark near tip of inner palm leaf below tip of right (facing) wing.

Provenance: Per present owner of coin, bought from Harry Labstain Rare Coins (Summer FUN Show, July 2010), PCGS Fine 15.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book. PCGS Certification Number 16707010.

Coin Serial Number: 238a (new number).


Entry #18, July 2014

GreatCollections Certified Coin Auctions, Irvine, California, sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar on July 13, 2014.

1797, O-101a 1797, O-101a
From GreatCollections, July 2014
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 207328, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, NGC Fine 12, price realized, including 10 percent buyer's fee: $47,544 (Coin Serial Number 162).


Entry #17, July 2014

1797, O-101a 1797, O-101a
From Heritage Auctions, July 2014
1797, O-101a

July 2014 Orlando Summer Florida United Numismatist (FUN) Auction Specimen.

Grade: Poor.

Identification Markers: A shallow vertical and diagonal scrape on the second curl.

Provenance: Orlando Summer FUN Auction (Heritage Auctions, July 2014), PCGS Poor 1, lot 3749, $18,800, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 463 (new number).


Entry #16, July 2014

Heritage Auctions sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar from the Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part I in New York City, June 23, 2014.

1797, O-101a 1797, O-101a
From Heritage Auctions, June 2014
1797, O-101a

Lot 30464, 1797, O-101a, PCGS MS63, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $282,000 (Coin Serial Number 402).


Entry #15, May 2014

Heritage Auctions sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar in its recent Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) sale in Schaumburg, Illinois, April 23, 2014.

1797, O-101a 1797, O-101a
From Heritage Auctions, April 2014
1797, O-102

Lot 4323, 1797, O-102, NGC VF Details, Repaired, price realized, including 17.5% buyers fee: $30,550 (Coin Serial Number 521a).


Entry #14, April 2014

GreatCollections Certified Coin Auctions, Irvine, California, sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar on April 6, 2014.

1797, O-101a 1797, O-101a
From GreatCollections, April 2014
1797, O-101a

Lot 184554, 1797 O-101a, PCGS Genuine VF Details, Scratch, price realized, including 10 percent buyer's fee: $46,956.80 (Coin Serial Number 421).


Entry #13, February 2014

Stack's Bowers sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar in its recent Americana Sale in New York, February 6, 2014.

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Stack's Bowers, February 2014
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 2063, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS MS 63, price realized, including buyer's fee: $367,187.50 (Coin Serial Number 103).


Entry #12, January 2014

Heritage Auctions sold two Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars in the recent Florida United Numismatists (FUN) auction in Orlando, Florida, January 9, 2014.

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Heritage Auctions, January 2014
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 5242, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS VF 35, price realized, including buyer's fee: $106,500 (Coin Serial Number 141).

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Heritage Auctions, January 2014
1797, O-101a

Lot 5243, 1797, O-101a, PCGS XF 40, price realized, including buyer's fee: $99,875 (Coin Serial Number 415).


Entry #11, November 2013

Heritage Auctions sold two Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars from the Eric P. Newman Collection, Part II in New York City, November 15-16, 2013.

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Heritage Auctions, November 2013
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Thurston - Burton - Green - Newman Specimen.

Grade: Mint State.

Identification Markers: Light horizontal adjustment mark midway between Liberty's ear and the neck curl, extending through the jaw into the hair. Two horizontal adjustment marks on eagle's breast and a few more on the right (facing) cloud.

Provenance: Edward Cogan to W.W. Thurston in a private sale for $325 (per S.K. Harzfeld, following); W.W. Thurston Collection (S.K. Harzfeld, September 1880), Uncirculated, lot 211, $300; John E. Burton Collection (W.E. Woodward, October 1881), Uncirculated, lot 513, $275; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman/B.G. Johnson d.b.a. as St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (Heritage Auctions, November 2013), NGC MS 62, lot 33418, $282,000.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 108a (new number).

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Heritage Auctions, November 2013
1796 16 Stars, O-102, late die state

Green - Newman Specimen.

Grade: Mint State.

Identification Markers: Small indent in the center of Liberty's cheek.

Provenance: "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman/B.G. Johnson d.b.a. as St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (Heritage Auctions, November 2013), NGC MS 63, lot 33419, $470,000.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 201a (new number).


Entry #10, September 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Charles McNutt, August 2013
1797, O-102.

McNutt Specimen.

Grade: Fine.

Identification Markers: Worn rim above ERTY. Horizontal mark above L in LIBERTY. Tiny vertical crescent-shaped scratch through E of LIBERTY. Three marks just left of eagle's head and one below lower beak. Vertical scratch from eagle's eye across its breast.

Provenance: "Harry Warren (Mid South Coin) obtained this coin at a show in the late 1980s and sold it to John Cayce. When Cayce died, the collection was sold back to Harry, who sold it to me ca. 1998" (per August 16, 2013 email from Charles McNutt).

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 528a (new number).


Entry #9, August 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Stack's Bowers, August 2013
1796 16 Stars, O-102, late die state.

August 2013 Chicago ANA Auction-Sale Specimen.

Grade: Fine.

Identification Markers: Short horizontal scratch above L in LIBERTY. Minute mark in center of I in LIBERTY. Short upper-left to lower-right scratch under neck curl. Round mark on cloud midway between left (facing) claw and ribbon bow.

Provenance: Chicago ANA Auction (Stack's Bowers, August 2013), PCGS Fine 12 Secure Holder, lot 4104, $88,125.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 241a (new number).


Entry #8, August 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Heritage Auctions, August 2013
1797, O-101a, late die state.

August 2013 Chicago Signature Auction Specimen.

Grade: Fine obverse, Very Good reverse.

Identification Markers: Horizontal pinscratch from Liberty's temple to nose. Horizontal planchet lamination from D in UNITED to eagle's lower neck. Diagonal pinscratch from upper part of left (facing) wing, across breast, to below right (facing) wing.

Provenance: Chicago Signature Auction (Heritage Auctions, August 2013), PCGS VG 8, lot 5630, $52,875.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 449b (new number).

Additional 1796-1797 Half Dollar Appearances at the August 2013 Heritage Chicago Signature Auction:


Entry #7, July 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Stack's Bowers, June 2013
1797, O-101a, intermediate die state.

June 2013 Baltimore Sale Specimen.

Grade: Fine, Repaired.

Identification Markers: Small rim ding to upper left of I in LIBERTY. Distinctive area of discoloration in upper-right obverse and lower-right reverse quadrants, probably associated with some sort of repair. On the obverse, the Y in LIBERTY and stars 9 and 10 are obliterated, as are most of the CA in AMERICA and the adjacent lower palm leaves on the reverse.

Provenance: Dick Osburn Rare Coins fixed price list (December 2012), Fine 15 "Has the look of a repaired piece," $24,750; Baltimore Auction (Stack's Bowers, June 2013), PCGS Fine Details, Smoothed, lot 1283, $23,657.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book. Entry # 7 updates Entry # 3 (high resolution Stack's Bowers images and Provenance).

Coin Serial Number: 448a (new number).


Entry #6, May 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101 1796 15 Stars, O-101
From Stack's Bowers, May 2013
1796 15 Stars, O-101.

Frank - 2013 ANA National Money Show Sale Specimen.

Grade: Very Fine obverse, Repaired, Fine reverse, Repaired.

Identification Markers: Attempted puncture on neck above Liberty's shoulder. Deep horizontal cut across eagle's breast extending halfway through the right (facing) wing. Minor rim bruise above A in STATES (original id markers). The Bowers and Merena, Dick Osburn, and Stack's Bowers photos show repairs on Liberty's shoulder and the eagle's breast and right (facing) wing. The Stack's, Bowers and Merena, and Dick Osburn images also show a minute rim bruise above the A in STATES (this bruise is obscured by the PCGS holder on the 2013 Stack's Bowers photo). The reverse photos of all four catalogs also show a short vertical scratch to the right of the lower-left (facing) wing about 1/3 of the way to the left (facing) leg, and a minute rim ding above the lower upright of N in UNITED (due to poor photo quality, these markers are barely visible on the 1956 Stack's photo).

Provenance: B. Frank Collection (Stack's, November 1956), Fine, "An attempted puncture behind the neck and a cut across the eagle's breast," lot 870, $425 (original provenance); Baltimore Sale (Bowers and Merena, November 1996), VG 8, "possible repair on Liberty's neck," lot 1923, $8,250; Dick Osburn Rare Coins fixed price list (December 2012), VG 10, "possible repair at neck/hairline," $29,696; ANA National Money Show (Stack's Bowers, May 2013), PCGS Fine Details, Damage or Tooling, lot 324, $25,850.

Additional Notes: The author is highly confident that the pieces listed in the above catalogs represent the same coin, based on the location of the repairs and contact marks.

Coin Serial Number: 149.


Entry #5, April 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state 1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state
From North Port Coins, April 2013
1796 16 Stars, O-102, late die state.

Ely - Western Reserve Historical Society Specimen.

Grade: Fine, Plugged, Smoothed.

Identification Markers: Upper-left to lower-right pin scratch from juncture of neck and chin in line with star 16 (original id marker). Plug smoothed out on both sides, curving mark on lower left of star 4, mark on lower stand of E AMERICA, mark on cloud below left (facing) claw, two vertically aligned marks between left (facing) leg and wing, and upper-right to lower-left linear mark to right of tail (the last four markers are new since publication of book).

Provenance: Hon. Herman Ely Collection (W.E. Woodward, January 1884), fine, perforation at point of bust filled, lot 157, $25; Western Reserve Historical Society Collection (Stack's, September 2002), About Fine but holed and crudely plugged at 5:00, lot 604, $13,800; Heritage Auctions (March 2009), ANACS VG 10, Plugged, lot 1913, $17,250 (original provenance); North Port Coins, Inc. fixed price list (April 2013), ICG VG 10, price unlisted.

Additional Notes: The North Port Coins entry is new since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 239.


Entry #4, April 2013

Recent 1796-1797 Half Dollar Prices and Book Serial Numbers

1796 15 Stars, NGC XF 45, Heritage, CSNS Chicago, lot 4259, April 25, 2013, $91,062.50 (Book coin serial # 121)

1797 0-101a, PCGS XF 45, CAC, Pinnacle Rarities fixed price, April 29, 2013, $159,500 (Book coin serial # 417)

1797 O-102, NGC Very Fine Details, Repaired, Howard Coins, April 29, 2013, $40,007 (Book coin serial # 521a)

1797 O-101, ANACS VF 30 Details, Tooled, Cleaned, Stack's Bowers, January 24, 2013, unsold (Book coin serial # 322a)

1797 O-101a, Fine 15, Repaired, Dick Osburn Rare Coins, December 2012, $24,750 (a new discovery since publication of book, new Coin Book Serial Number 448a)

1796 15 Stars, VG 10, Repaired, Dick Osburn Rare coins, December 2012, $32,995 (Book coin serial nuber 149)

1796 16 Stars, AG/Fair, Dick Osburn Rare Coins, December 2012, $22,950 (a new discovery piece since publication of book, new Coin Book Serial Number 259)


Entry #3, March 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state 1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state
1797, O-101a, intermediate die state.
Dick Osburn Rare Coins December 2012 Inventory Specimen.

Grade: Fine, Repaired.

Identification Markers: Small rim ding to upper left of I in LIBERTY. Distinctive area of discoloration in upper-right obverse and lower-right reverse quadrants, probably associated with some sort of repair. On the obverse, the Y in LIBERTY and stars 9 and 10 are obliterated, as are most of the CA in AMERICA and the adjacent lower palm leaves on the reverse.

Provenance: Dick Osburn Rare Coins fixed price list (December 2012), Fine 15 "Has the look of a repaired piece," $24,750.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Coin Serial Number: 448a (new number).


Entry #2, February 2013

1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state 1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state
1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state
A Southern Collector's Specimen

Grade: Very Fine obverse, Damaged, Fine reverse, Damaged.

Identification Markers: Nine or ten upper-right to lower-left trending marks, which appear to be cuts or digs, on the right obverse, mostly in the field, and one on Liberty's cheekbone. Light vertical mark near back of head below L in LIBERTY. Light horizontal cut or dig in middle of eagle's torso, one in left middle of right (facing) wing, one on left (facing) leg, and three on clouds above ribbon bows. Small mark midway between last S in STATES and O in OF, another to lower left of 2 in fraction.

Provenance: In a Southern collection since about 1910.

Additional Notes: This is a new discovery specimen since publication of the book.

Serial Number: 161a (new number).


Entry # 1, January 2013

Heritage Auctions sold two Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars in the recent Florida United Numismatists (FUN) auction in Orlando, Florida, January 10, 2013:

Lot 5623, 1796 16 Stars, O-102, PCGS AU 55, price realized, including buyer's fee: $211,500 (Coin Serial Number 203)

Lot 5624, 1797, O-102, NGC Good Details, Reverse Repaired, price realized, including buyer's fee: $30,550 (Coin Serial Number 533)