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Obverse of 1797 Half Dime - Valentine 4     Reverse of 1797 Half Dime - Valentine 4

1797 HALF DIME -


Rarity: Very Scarce

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.

Recent appearances:
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 this variety.
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 denticles.

Reverse: Die break through E of UNITED; die clash marks at top of wreath.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837" by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey

Obverse of 1797 Half Dime - Valentine 4     Reverse of 1797 Half Dime - Valentine 4

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions