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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.

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We have set up this special page as an additional resource for the book. Here readers can view new 1796-1797 half dollar discoveries since the book's December 2012 publication, as well as the prices realized for any 1796-1797 half that has appeared at auction since the book's release. If you have a 1796-1797 half dollar that is not included in the book or on the web page, please contact Jon Amato at:

JonA@HA.com
or
PO Box 5535
Albany, NY 12205


Entry #38, September 2016

Bonhams offered a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar in its Los Angeles, California auction, September 6, 2016.

1796 15 Stars, O-101
1796 15 Stars, O-101

From Bonhams, September 2016
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 42, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS VF Details, Genuine, Repaired, price realized: did not sell (Coin Serial Number 142)


Entry #37, September 2016

Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc. sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar at the Pre Long Beach sale on September 5, 2016 at the Long Beach, California Coin Expo.

1796 16 Stars, O-102, late die state
1796 16 Stars, O-102, late die state

From Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, September 2016
1796 16 Stars, O-102, late die state

Lot 720, 1796 16 Stars, O-102, ICG VG 10, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $41,125 (Coin Serial Number 239).

This coin last appeared in a March 2009 Heritage Auction, lot 1913, encapsulated in an ANACS VG 10 Details, Plugged holder (see images below), after which the plug was smoothed over on both sides and the drapery at the left (facing) breast and the adjacent dentils on each side were reengraved.

1796 50C 16 Stars--Plugged--ANACS. VG10 Details. O-102
1796 50C 16 Stars--Plugged--ANACS. VG10 Details. O-102

From Heritage Auctions, March 2009


Entry #36, August 2016

Stack's Bowers offered a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar at the ANA sale in Anaheim, California, August 11, 2016.

1797, O-102
1797, O-102

From Stack's Bowers, August 2016
1797, O-102

Lot 3117, 1797, O-102, NGC Fine 12, price realized: passed, $48,000 reserve not met (Coin Serial Number 528).


Entry #35, August 2016

Heritage Auctions sold six Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars at the ANA sale in Anaheim, California, August 10, 2016. The first five listings are from the Hamilton Collection, which is significant in including all four Overton varieties of half dollars dated 1796-1797. Only five other collections that held all four varieties are known to this author to have accomplished this challenging feat (see pages 31 and 32 of The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797).

1796 15 Stars, O-101
1796 15 Stars, O-101

From Heritage Auctions, August 2016
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 4074, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS Fine 12, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $49,350 (Coin Serial Number 133), from The Hamilton Collection.

1796 15 Stars, O-101
1796 15 Stars, O-101

From Heritage Auctions, August 2016
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 4075, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS VF 30, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $82,250 (Coin Serial Number 126), from The Hamilton Collection.

1796 16 Stars, O-102
1796 16 Stars, O-102

From Heritage Auctions, August 2016
1796 16 Stars, O-102

Lot 4076, 1796 16 Stars, O-102, PCGS VF 25, CAC, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $76,375 (Coin Serial Number 216), from The Hamilton Collection.

1797, O-101a
1797, O-101a

From Heritage Auctions, June 2016
1797, O-101a

Hamilton Specimen

Grade: Very Fine.

Identification Markers: Two pinscratches in the field below Liberty's chin forming a T leaning to the left. A diagonal pinscratch (\) runs from the hair into the neck. A horizontal pinscratch extends from the inner point of star 5 to the bottom point of the middle ribbon. A light horizontal scratch is located on the lower left (facing) wing.

Provenance: Acquired from Heritage Auctions Inventory (June 23, 1988), PCGS VF 20, CAC.

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

Coin Serial Number: 432a (new number).

1796 16 Stars, O-102
1796 16 Stars, O-102

From Heritage Auctions, August 2016
1797, O-102

Lot 4079, 1797, O-102, PCGS VF 30, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $58,892 (Coin Serial Number 504), from The Hamilton Collection.

1797, O-102
1797, O-102

From Heritage Auctions, August 2016
1797, O-102

Lot 4078, 1797, O-102, PCGS Fine 15, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $44,650 (Coin Serial Number 511).


Entry #34, June 2016

Heritage Auctions sold two Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars from the Rev. Dr. James G. K. McClure Collection on June 9, 2016 at the Long Beach Coin Expo.

1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, T-1, R.5, AG3 NGC
1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, T-1, R.5, AG3 NGC

From Heritage Auctions, June 2016
1796 15 Stars, O-101

McClure Specimen

Grade: Good obverse, About Good reverse.

Identification Markers: Laminated planchet defect on each side. Light scratch left of star 12.

Provenance: McClure Collection (Heritage Auctions, June 2016), NGC AG 3, lot 4493, $28,200.

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

Coin Serial Number: 169a (new number).

1797 50C O-101a, T-1, High R.4, Good 6 NGC. CAC
1797 50C O-101a, T-1, High R.4, Good 6 NGC. CAC

From Heritage Auctions, June 2016
1797, O-101a

McClure Specimen

Grade: Very Good obverse, Good reverse.

Identification Markers: Upper left to lower right adjustment marks on central part of Liberty's portrait. A single diagonal adjustment mark extends from T in LIBERTY through stars 9,10, 11 and to rim at 3:00. Reverse rim worn into top letters of RICA in AMERICA.

Provenance: McClure Collection (Heritage Auctions, June 2016), NGC Good 6, CAC, lot 4494, $41,125.

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

Coin Serial Number: 452a (new number).


Entry #33, May 2016

Heritage Auctions sold two Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars in the Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) sale in Schaumburg, Illinois, April 28, 2016.

1796 50C 16 Stars, O-102, T-2, High R.5 -- Plugged, Tooled -- NGC. VF Details
1796 50C 16 Stars, O-102, T-2, High R.5 -- Plugged, Tooled -- NGC. VF Details

From Heritage Auctions, April 2016
1796 16 Stars, O-102, late die state

Grade: Very Fine, Plugged, Tooled.

Identification Markers: Plugged at 12:00 obverse, and the letters ER in LIBERTY and digit 2 in the reverse denominator re-engraved. Two digs in rim above BE, and a diamond-shaped mark on the hair curl below Liberty's ear.

Provenance: Central States sale (Heritage Auctions, April 2016), NGC VF Details, Plugged, Tooled, lot 4653, $42,300, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee.

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

Coin Serial Number: 226a (new number).

1797 50C O-102, T-2, Low R.6, Fine 12 PCGS
1797 50C O-102, T-2, Low R.6, Fine 12 PCGS

From Heritage Auctions, April 2016
1797, O-102

Lot 4654, 1797, O-102, PCGS Fine 12, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $55,812.50 Coin Serial Number 523).


Entry #32, January 2016

The Byron Reed Uncirculated 1797 half dollar specimen appearing in The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 reference (Coin Serial Number 401) has recently been determined to pedigree to the Thomas Cleneay Collection sold by S.H. and H. Chapman in December 1890. Information to this effect became available through the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University that illustrates the Chapman catalog, including the names of successful bidders (see the two attachments below).

1797 half dollar entry, lot 1104

1797 half dollar entry, lot 1104

The Provenance of Coin Serial Number 401 is therefore modified to read:

Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. and H. Chapman, December 1890), Uncirculated, lot 1104, $250; Byron Reed Collection (Spink America, October 1996), very choice to gem uncirculated and prooflike, lot 25, $176,000; Central States Numismatic Society sale (Heritage Auctions, April 2015), PCGS MS 64 Secure, CAC, lot 5071, $493,500.

Relatedly, Coin Serial Number 301, the Cleneay specimen in the Chapman catalog originally thought to be a separate coin from the Reed example is deleted from the 1796-1797 half dollar reference.


Entry #31, December 2015

Legend Rare Coin Auctions sold two Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars at The Regency Auction XV in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 17, 2015.

Counterfeit 1797, O-102
Counterfeit 1797, O-102

From Legend Rare Con Auctions, December 2015
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 217, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS VF 30, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $99,875 (Coin Serial Number 137).

Counterfeit 1797, O-102
Counterfeit 1797, O-102

From Legend Rare Coin Auctions, December 2015
1797, O-102

Lot 218, 1797 O-102, PCGS Fine 12, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $55,812.50 (Coin Serial Number 528a).


Entry #30, November 2015

The author wishes to thank David Stone, Heritage Auction cataloger, for submitting Provenance additions for the following two coins in The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 reference:

Coin Serial Number 257, 1796 16 Stars, early die state
   •  W.H. Woodin Collection (Thomas Elder, March 2011), Good, Plugged over head and two letters re-engraved, lot 77, $30.

Coin Serial Number 308, 1797 O-101
   •  W.H. Woodin Collection (Thomas Elder, March 2011), Fine, lot 78, $60.


Entry #29, September 2015

Heritage Auctions sold two Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars at the Long Beach Coin Expo, September 17, 2015.

1796 50C 16 Stars, O-102, High R.5 -- Damaged -- ANACS. VF20 Details
1797 50C NGC Details. Good. O-102

From Heritage Auctions, September 2015
1796 16 Stars, O-102, early die state

Lot 3920, 1796 16 Stars, O-102, ANACS VF 20 Details, Damaged, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $37,600 (Coin Serial Number 218).

1797 50C O-101a, T-1, High R.4, Fine 15 PCGS. CAC
1797 50C O-101a, T-1, High R.4, Fine 15 PCGS. CAC

From Heritage Auctions, September 2015
1797, O-101a

Lot 3921, 1797 O-101a, PCGS Fine 15, CAC, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $70,500 (Coin Serial Number 442).


Entry #28, August 2015

The 1797, O-102 NGC Good Details, reverse Repaired half dollar (Coin Serial Number 533) sold in lot 5624 by Heritage Auctions in the January 2013 Florida United Numismatists (FUN) auction (upper-most images) apparently served as the prototype or model coin for a deceptive counterfeit (lower-most images).

1797 50C NGC Details. Good. O-102
1797 50C NGC Details. Good. O-102

From Heritage Auctions, January 2013
Prototype 1797, O-102

Counterfeit 1797, O-102
Counterfeit 1797, O-102

Counterfeit 1797, O-102

Note the following Identification Markers on both coins: the short diagonal mark on the lower one-third of Liberty's portrait (in line with the inner point of star 3 and the 1 in the date); the minuscule mark below it in line with the serif of the first 7; the minute rim ding between stars 12 and 13; and the deep mark above the diagonal in the N of UNITED.

While the "repair" below the eagle's right (facing) wing does not show clearly on the reverse image of the counterfeit, previous inspection of this coin in 2008 by the present author indicated that it is in fact present, though more subdued.

Most of the surface marks on the counterfeit coin appear to be more faded than on the prototype. At least three grading services (PCI, PCGS, and NGC) encapsulated the counterfeit in "Details" holders. NGC ultimately identified it as a counterfeit sometime in late 2013 or early 2014. The question arises: Do other copies of this deceptive counterfeit exist?

The Provenance for Coin Serial Number 533 (the genuine piece) in the Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797 reference is modified to read: possibly Kreisberg and Schulman (March 1965), About Very Good, lot 309; possibly Sale of the 70's (Kagin's, November 1973), good to very good, lot 436, $2,200; possibly Bowers and Merena (September 1992), Good 4, Lightly Polished and Burnished, lot 1336, $6,160; 2013 FUN Sale (Heritage Auctions, January 2013), NGC Good Details, reverse Repaired, lot 5624, $30,550.

The following portion of the Provenance for Coin Serial Number 533 is deleted from the above reference: Early American History Auctions (circa May 2007), PCI Good 4, Repaired, lot number unknown; Dick Osburn Rare Coins fixed price list (October 2007), PCGS Genuine (Osburn Good 4), $34, 750.


Entry #27, May 2015

Stack's Bowers Galleries in association with Sotheby's sold four Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars from the D. Brent Pogue Collection Part I in New York City, May 19, 2015.

1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state
1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state

From Stack's Bowers-Sotheby's, May 2015
1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state

Lot 1100, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS Specimen 63, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $587,500 (Coin Serial Number 101).

1796 15 Stars, O-101
1796 15 Stars, O-101

From Stack's Bowers-Sotheby's, May 2015
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 1101, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS MS 62, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $258,500 (Coin Serial Number 105).

1796 16 Stars, O-102, early die state
1796 16 Stars, O-102, early die state

From Stack's Bowers-Sotheby's, May 2015
1796 16 Stars, O-102, early die state

Lot 1102, 1796 16 Stars, O-102, PCGS MS 66, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $822,500 (Coin Serial Number 200).

1797, O-101a, late die state
1797, O-101a, late die state

From Stack's Bowers-Sotheby's, May 2015
1797, O-101a, late die state

Lot 1103, 1797 O-101a, PCGS MS 66, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $1,527,500 (Coin Serial Number 403).


Entry #26, May 2015

Heritage Auctions sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar from the Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part III in New York City, May 12, 2015.

1796 16 Stars, O-102, PCGS MS64
1796 16 Stars, O-102, PCGS MS64

From Heritage Auctions, May 2015
1796 16 Stars, O-102, early die state

Lot 98439, 1796 16 Stars, O-102, PCGS MS64, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $329,000 (Coin Serial Number 201).


Entry #25, April 2015

Heritage Auctions offered five Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollars in the recent Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) sale in Schaumburg, Illinois, April 23, 2015.

1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, R.5, Fine 12 NGC
1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, R.5, Fine 12 NGC

From Heritage Auctions, April 2015
1796 15 Stars, O-101, early die state

Lot 5067, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, NGC Fine 12, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $47,000 (Coin Serial Number 161a).

1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, R.5, VF30 NGC
1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, R.5, VF30 NGC

From Heritage Auctions, April 2015
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 5068, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, NGC VF 30, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $49,350 (Coin Serial Number 132).

1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, R.5, XF Details, PCGS Genuine
1796 50C 15 Stars, O-101, R.5, XF Details, PCGS Genuine

From Heritage Auctions, April 2015
1796 15 Stars, O-101

Lot 5069, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, PCGS Genuine, XF Details, unsold (Coin Serial Number 123).

1797 50C O-101a, High R.4, XF45 NGC
1797 50C O-101a, High R.4, XF45 NGC

From Heritage Auctions, April 2015
1797, O-101a, late die state

Grade: Extremely Fine.

Identification Markers: Minute rim bruise opposite star 15. Faint diagonal pinscratch connecting star 9 and Liberty's lower forehead. Faint pinscratches that appear to form an "x" in the field between the eagle's neck and right (facing) wing.

Provenance: Central States sale (Heritage, April 2015), NGC XF 45, lot 5070, $123,375, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee.

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

Coin Serial Number: 417a (new number).

1797 50C O-101a, High R.4, MS64 PCGS Secure. CAC
1797 50C O-101a, High R.4, MS64 PCGS Secure. CAC

From Heritage Auctions, April 2015
1797 O-101a, intermediate die state

Lot 5071, 1797, O-101a, PCGS Secure MS64, CAC, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $493,500 (Coin Serial Number 401).


Entry #24, March 2015

1797, O-101a, PCGS Genuine, VF Details
1797, O-101a, PCGS Genuine, VF Details

From Dick Osburn Rare Coins, December 2012
1796 16 Stars, O-102

Grade: About Good obverse, Poor reverse.

Identification Markers: Minute rim ding at 12:00 obverse. Small toning spot midway between star 3 and Liberty's hair. Small dent near rim beneath space between 96 of date. Reverse virtually smooth.

Provenance: Dick Osburn Rare Coins fixed price list (December 2012), AG/Fair, $22,950.

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

Coin Serial Number: 259 (new number).


Entry #23, January 2015

Heritage Auctions sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar in the recent Florida United Numismatists (FUN) sale in Orlando, Florida, January 7, 2015.

1797, O-101a, PCGS Genuine, VF Details
1797, O-101a, PCGS Genuine, VF Details

From Heritage Auctions, January 2015
1797, O-101a

Lot 4122, 1797, O-101a, PCGS Genuine, VF Details, Cleaning, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $42,300 (Coin Serial Number 422).


Entry #22, October 2014

Heritage Auctions sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar from the Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part II in New York City, October 27, 2014.

1796 15 Stars, O-101
1796 15 Stars, O-101

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

Lot 98460, 1796 15 Stars, O-101, NGC MS 62, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $282,000 (Coin Serial Number 107).


Entry #21, October 2014

Stack's Bowers sold a Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar in its recent PNG Invitational sale in New York, October 10, 2014.

1796 16 Stars, O-102
1796 16 Stars, O-102

From Stack's Bowers, October 2014
1796 16 Stars, O-102

Lot 105, 1796 16 Stars, O-102, PCGS VF 35, price realized, including 17.5 percent buyer's fee: $141,000 (Coin Serial Number 227).


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)


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