1797 H10C 13 Stars MS (PCGS# 4260)
The June 2011 Baltimore Auction
Lot Number: 2229
View the Original Auction
A formidable rarity in <em>all grades</em> let alone in a classic collector grade like Extremely Fine. The 1797 thirteen star obverse half dime has been a well known rarity for generations of collectors. The present coin has attractive light silver-gray toning with hints of gold, notably darker around the stars which accents these important features. In terms of the surfaces there are some old scratches and digs, and these are accounted for in the grade assigned as the technical hair and feather definition are certainly a bit finer than the grade awarded. Bear in mind that this series of early half dimes are rarely found this nice, virtually the entire known population has surface problems, often catastrophic ones. Not so here as the surfaces are far more wholesome than commonly seen. Notably there are some light scratches on Liberty's bust, one down from her chin to her drapery but this is <em>light</em> and shallow, and not overly distracting. On the reverse there is a hidden dig in the left wing of the eagle, and a scrape on the C of AMERICA. These are mentioned for pedigree tracing more than to list the minor troubles of the present coin. On balance this is a handsome example of this rare issue, and a coin which is certain to become one of the highlights of an advanced variety or type collection. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle design was used for just two short years using six different die pairings, this particular issue and the famed 1796/5 are the two toughest to locate. As a general type, these Small Eagle pieces are formidable rarities in certifiable condition, as they circulated hard are are rarely found without bends, scratches and digs. The present piece is a desirable offering of this rarely seen half dime variety of which approximately 30 have been certified in all grades between both services.