Half Dollar - The 1797
Half Dollar was made with 15 stars. Of the 2,984
minted, it is estimated that less than 200 survive
today in all grades. NGC has certified 50 and PCGS
has certified 93. Most are in circulated condition
in grades F to VF. Because these half dollars and
the preceding year’s were produced according
to demand, the mintages are low. In mid-1795 new equipment
at the Mint allowed the production of silver dollars
to begin and 160,295 of them were made.
The public found silver
dollars easier to count and store; consequently, there
was a drop in demand for the halves. Needless to say,
the Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar type is a
great numismatic rarity and, outside of the Gobrecht
silver dollar, it is the most elusive regular issue
type silver coin made by the U.S. Mint. Two or three
of the finest known 1797 half dollars are graded MS66.
One of them sold for $1,380,000 in 2008.
Tennessee was admitted
to the Union in June of 1796. In that year it was
recognized with a 16th star added to the half dollar.
It is not known why the number of stars was reduced
to 15 for the following year, except possibly that
the dies were prepared in advance and dated as needed
Specifications: Designer: Robert Scot Weight: 13.48 grams Composition: .8924 silver, .1076
copper Diameter: approximately 32.5 mm Edge: FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR
with decorations between