1797 50C XF40 PCGS
Lot 158
1797 50C XF40 PCGS
US$ 100,000 - 120,000
£75,000 - 90,000

Coins and Medals

11 Dec 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
1797 50C XF40 PCGS
1797 50C XF40 PCGS
O-101a, High R.4. Amato-415. A legendary type in the early U.S. Draped Bust half dollar series, the Small Eagle design is found only on coins dated 1796 and 1797. The fact that this is a two-year type is not in itself an indication of rarity. After all, other two-year types in the U.S. coinage family are relatively obtainable in most grades, an example being the Arrows, No Motto Seated half dollar of 1854-1855. What makes the Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar such a rare coin is that it is estimated only 3,918 pieces were produced for both years, 1796 and 1797. It is certainly rare in an absolute sense, and extremely rare from a market availability standpoint given the importance of this issue for type purposes.

This Amato-415 example was previously sold in a January 2014 Heritage auction where it was accurately described as:

"Light gray patination covers both sides of this XF40 PCGS specimen, complementing hints of gold on some of the devices, especially on the reverse. Sharp definition appears on the design elements, including Liberty's hair strands and the eagle's wing and tail feathers. Neither side reveals bothersome adjustment marks or significant contact marks. The few light oval marks on and around the eagle's torso are mentioned only for identification purposes, as are some streaks around the left and lower reverse border.

Die cracks from the rim at 9:30 through the olive wreath to the eagle's lower neck and from the rim at 10:30 through the first T in STATES to the upper neck attribute the O- 101a die state. The crack connecting them has not yet fully developed but can be barely seen in its incipient stage extending from the lower-left serif of the first T to the lower part of the first S. Another crack from the rim through the right side of O in OF and the palm wreath to the right (facing) wing is clearly visible."

Whenever conversations turn to rarities in the half dollar denomination, more often than not, the issues of 1796-1797 are among the first dates mentioned. Perhaps the 1838-O Capped Bust is more coveted within the denomination; it too is one of the great classic rarities in U.S. coinage. We suspect the bidding for this lot will be fast and furious, as most bidders will have done their homework and formulated a bid that is in the running before this classic rarity even crosses the auction block. Bid as though you mean it and this XF40 1797 half dollar will take its rightful place in your type set or early half dollar cabinet. (PCGS 6060 / 39265)
Activities
Auction information

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    Auction administration - Coins and Banknotes
    Bonhams
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