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DRAPED BUST, SMALL EAGLE REVERSE HALF DOLLAR (1796-1797)

1797 Half Dollar

 

1797 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 for coining.

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

Half Dollars



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1797 Half Dollar

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