1797 HALF DIME -
Rarity: Very Scarce
Images courtesy of Ira
& Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.
PCGS MS-62. Ex - R.M. Smythe
"Nebraska Part IV", November 17, 2000, Lot 1124
PCGS AU-55 (illustrated
above). Ex - Numismatic Gallery's sale of the "World's
Greatest Collection", May 12, 1945, sold for $31.00 to Ira S.
Reed, acting as agent for Dr. Benson - Ira
& Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson
II" sale, February 18-19, 2002, Lot 339, illustrated, where it
was described as follows: "1797. 16 stars, LM-2, V-4, Rarity-4.
From the "World's Greatest Collection" sale of 1945. PCGS
graded AU-55. First of all, this coin is extraordinary, the surfaces
don't show wear and we would not at all be surprised to see this
coin graded higher in the future, and well it should. As to the
strike, we note full curls on Liberty's upper head, but ever-present
weakness is located at the center below Liberty's ear. Sharp on the
stars, date and periphery. On the reverse, we see clashed dies,
which show fine wavy lines above the eagle from Liberty's hair, and
the outline of her bust on the upper right of the reverse. The eagle
has the usual mushy strike, with most of the wing feathers clear,
but the breast and thigh feathers flat. However, the eagle does have
a nice head, with a strong tongue and partial eye visible. If you
love toned coins, then take a look at this one, the periphery is
alive with dark gold, red and blue shades over the lustrous fields
and devices, while the centers are still white. There is a trivial
dark area on the palm leaves below the M of AMERICA and this will
help serve to identify this coin in the future.
This pair of dies clashed very early and both the obverse and
reverse show strong clash marks, further the reverse die cracked
through the E of UNITED when it was paired with a 15 star obverse
earlier, so all coins of this variety have that particular die crack
on the reverse. Further, the reverse die shows rust around the
periphery, an indication of improper storage (not enough grease) in
the humid Philadelphia air. This is a fairly early die state for
Over the years, a great many coin auction sales have taken place,
few can stand the test of time as truly historic memorable
collections. The collection, or perhaps "hoard", of F.C.C.
Boyd was one of those truly memorable events. His collection was
catalogued and sold by Numismatic Gallery in several parts, and this
part of the auction took place in May, 1945. Most of the coins were
separated long ago from their pedigrees, but a few of the coins in
this collection were purchased directly at the sale by Ira S. Reed,
acting as agent for Dr. Benson, and the original auction paper
envelope is included with the coins confirming this illustrious
pedigree", sold for $13,800.00
"Fine 12 Obverse
Scratches" (illustrated below). Ex - Heritage Numismatic
Auctions, Inc.'s "2000 Santa Clara" Sale, November 16-17,
2000, Lot 5213, where it was described (in part) as follows: "
V-4, LM-2, R.4. The deep lavender-gray toning leaves little doubt
that this is an original survivor of this scarce, early half dime.
The strike is noticeably soft over the reverse portrait, but the
balance of the features are well defined for the issue. There are a
few pinscratches over Liberty's neck."
Obverse: 16 obverse stars. Clash
marks from the palm leaves on the reverse are visible in the right
obverse field. The inner
points of the 10th and 11th stars are recut. The second 7 of
the date is much larger than the first and its base just touches the
Reverse: Die break
through E of UNITED; die clash marks at top of wreath.
"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The
Professional Coin Grading Service
Dimes 1792-1837" by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey