1797 50C MS (PCGS# 6060)

August 2011 Chicago ANA - Rarities Night

  • Auctioneer:
    Stack's Bowers
  • Lot Number:
  • Grade:
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Lot Description
1797 Draped Bust Half Dollar. O-101a. Rarity-5. 15 Stars. AG-3 (PCGS). Pale golden gray with a touch of deeper gold here and there, especially at the reverse periphery.&nbsp;No marks of consequence are seen despite what must have been decades in circulation. An important rarity in any and all grades, one of just 3,918 pieces struck, <em>a figure that includes the mintage figure&nbsp;of two 1796 varieties as well as the 1797 issue.</em> Fairly bold obverse design elements are present though&nbsp;with weakness in the right-hand stars, the rim there well into the stars. On the reverse the wear pattern is uneven at best, with TED ST and OF plainly visible, the other legend letters and the central eagle weak and and only faintly visible for the most part. Whenever a 1797 half dollar is offered in the numismatic marketplace it is usually heralded with great fanfare.&nbsp;Certainly the appearance of this collector-grade specimen represents an opportunity to obtain this classic rarity without having to lay out the better part of a million dollars to obtain a high-grade MS-63 example. We suspect the bidding activity on this lot will be fast and furious, so be amply prepared.<br /> <br /> <strong>Numismatic Reflections by Q. David Bowers<br /> </strong>I won&rsquo;t talk about population reports and I won&rsquo;t discuss &ldquo;finest known,&rdquo; nor will I mention a PCGS Registry Set. However, I will mention that the 1797 half dollar is of the Draped Bust, Small Eagle reverse minted only in two years, 1796 and 1797 and for type set purposes it is the most elusive of all American designs. The present piece, readily identifiable, will be ideally affordable for someone who might otherwise go without this issue. Although I have no way of knowing, I expect that there will be a <em>tremendous</em> amount of interest in this coin, for an opportunity to bid on such an affordable piece occurs only rarely.
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