Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 75

September Pre Long Beach

Half Dimes
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 1408
1797. 16 stars. LM-2, V-4. NGC graded VF-20. Evenly struck with no major problems. Some minor marks in the right obverse field; there is a faint old hairline on the right wing of the eagle. Uniform slate-grey toning that lightens slightly around the device. Only 44,527 struck for the type. Important two-year Type. One reason for the paucity and low quality of coinage during this period was the yearly outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia during the summer and fall months. The epidemic was particularly ferocious from 1797 through 1804, and during some of these years the Mint was temporarily closed throughout the yellow fever season. Key employees such as engraver Joseph Wright and assayer Joseph Whitehead succumbed in 1793, and Mint Treasurer Dr. Nicholas Way was felled in 1797. Official procedures were instituted for closing the Mint in these emergencies, including provisions to pay off the workers and instructions for coining or securing the bullion that remained on hand. All dies were to be packaged and sent to the Bank of the United States for safe keeping.

It should be noted that most Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dimes of 1796-97 are usually weakly struck, particularly in the center of the coin. This presents a grading challenge, since the typical specimen may grade only Fine. Wear first shows on the hair above Liberty's forehead, at the hair over her ear and shoulder and on the area where the bust meets the drapery line. On the reverse, check the center of the eagle's breast and the ribbon.

No half dimes were struck in 1798 and 1799. The coin was again minted in 1800 with the same Draped Bust obverse, but with a new reverse by Robert Scot that copied the heraldic eagle device from the Great Seal of the United States.
Diagnostics: This is one of two varieties with 16 obverse stars. LM-2 has a leaf piercing the bottom of C at its center. The other 16 stars variety has a leaf close to the bottom of this letter but not touching. The final 7 in the date is larger than the other digits, and it is broken at the junction of the upright and top. The obverse has parallel cracks from the border to stars 7 and 8, the lower crack continuing into the field between these stars, the upper crack joining the upper outside point of star 8. The reverse has a small rim break in the dentils over ME most visible on higher grade specimens. Clash marks are almost always visible on both sides. Estimated Value $3,000 - 3,500
View details and enlarged photos

Home | Current Sale | Calendar of Events | Bidding | Consign | About Us | Contact | Archives | Log In

US Coins & Currency | World & Ancient Coins | Manuscripts & Collectibles | Bonded CA Auctioneers No. 3S9543300
11400 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite 800, Los Angeles CA 90064 | 310. 551.2646 ph | 310.551.2626 fx | 800.978.2646 toll free

© 2011 Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, All Rights Reserved