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HomeUS Coins1802 Draped Bust Half Dime : A Collector's Guide

1802 Draped Bust Half Dime : A Collector’s Guide

1802 Draped Bust Half Dime. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1802 Draped Bust Half Dime. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

Logan-McCloskey-1. Only known dies. Rarity-5.

The 1802 Draped Bust half dime is the second-rarest half dime behind the 1870-S, and the key of the Draped Bust half dime series. On second thought, the coin is more of a stopper than a series key. The 1802 Draped Bust half dime has been considered a Great Rarity since the mid-19th century, and many great cabinets from the late 19th and early 20th centuries did not include one. The Red Book’s published mintage for this date is 3,060. Heritage Auctions estimates that number is much lower, based on the paltry number of survivors.

One die pair was used to strike all of the known examples. 1802 half dimes display weakness on the left side, which flattens the obverse denticles from 7 to 10 o’clock. The stars on the left are flat. A thin die line extends to the left from Liberty’s top curl. The tip of the numeral 1 barely misses Liberty’s curl. Eight is the largest digit; it is bold. Zero is round and “O” like. Two is canted to the left and nearly touches Liberty’s bust truncation.

Cloud detail is characteristically weak, and the RIBU of PLURIBUS is usually weak. This reverse die was used to strike 1801 LM-1 and LM-2 die marriages, and 1803 LM-1 and LM-2 die marriages.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Likely 25 to 30 exist, most in low-circulated grades; no Mint State examples are known.

An example was offered in a December 1859 Edward Cogan sale. William A. Lillendahl had one; his example sold for $340 USD in December 1863. The coin was called Augustus G. Heaton’s “better half” in his poem “The Convention of the Thirteen Silver Barons,” published in the January 1894 issue of The Numismatist.

An interesting tidbit: Stack’s Bowers said this issue was the last coin purchased in the famous D. Brent Pogue Family Collection.

Top Population: PCGS AU55 (2, 4/2024), NGC AU50 (2, 4/2024), and CAC AU53 (1:0 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

  • PCGS AU55: Newlin-Garrett
  • PCGS AU53 CAC #81464452: U.S. Coin Company, April 1917, Lot 215; “The Empire Collection,” Stack’s, November 1957, Lot 628; “The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection,” Bowers and Merena, May 1996, Lot 903; Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2017, Lot 5569 – $329,000; “The Bender Family Collection,” Heritage Auctions, August 24, 2022, Lot 3723 – $456,000. Reholdered. The certification number is unchanged. Woodward-Bender on insert. Planchet void beneath Liberty’s chin. Thin scratch across jaw and neck.
  • PCGS AU50 CMQ #04320640: Virginia collector; John Feigenbaum and Jim McGuigan, by sale, June 1999, to Jonathan Kern; “The Steve Glenn Collection,” Heritage Auctions, April 2006, Lot 1868; “The Joseph C. Thomas Collection,” Heritage Auctions, April 2009, Lot 2186; Eugene H. Gardner; “The Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part I,” Heritage Auctions, June 2014, Lot 30180 – $352,500; D. Brent Pogue Collection; “The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I,” Stack’s Bowers / Sotheby’s, May 2015, Lot 1013 – $305,000. Reholdered with Pogue insert. The certification number is unchanged; Stack’s Bowers, March 26, 2024, Lot 4064 – $324,000. Pedigree information assisted by Stack’s Bowers. Blue, gold, and purple toning. Thin scratch across the cheek. Rim scratch at 11 o’clock. 
  • NGC AU50: J.P. Leavitt, 1863; “The Scott’s Redlich Collection,” 1878, Lot 542a; “The W. Elliot Woodward Collection,” October 1884; “The James B. Wilson Collection,” Thomas Elder, October 1908; “The H.O. Granberg Collection”; ” The William Cutler Atwater Collection,” B. Max Mehl, June 1946, Lot 1126; “The James A. Stack, Sr. Collection,” Stack’s, November 1989, Lot 368; Heritage Auctions, January 1998, Lot 6631; Heritage Auctions, August 2000, Lot 6815; Heritage Auctions, January 2001, Lot 6699; Heritage Auctions, June 2001, Lot 7960; Heritage Auctions, August 2011, Lot 7065; Superior, June 2002, Lot 4138; David Lawrence Rare Coins, July 2004, Lot 3054; Heritage Auctions, July 2011, Lot 7065; Goldberg Auctioneers, January 2015, Lot 1145; Stack’s Bowers, November 14, 2019, Lot 3045 – $192,000. It appears like it was cleaned a long time ago.
Stack's lot listing for the R.L. Miles 1802 Draped Bust half dime.
Stack’s lot listing for the R.L. Miles 1802 Draped Bust half dime.
  • NGC AU50 #1650296-008: As Extremely Fine. “The Anderson-DuPont Collection, Part II,” November 1954, Lot 1357; “The R.L. Miles, Jr. Collection, Part II, April 1969, Lot 398; “The Pacific Collection,” Robert L. Hughes Enterprises, February 1978; Stack’s Bowers, August 17, 2021, Lot 4048 – $228,000. There is a light scratch near the neck and two small scratches to the right of Liberty’s mouth. MILES/PRINCE on insert.
  • NGC AU50 #3319293-002: J.P. Leavitt, 1863; “The Scott Redlich Collection,” 1878, Lot 542a; W. Elliot Woodward, October 1884; “The James B. Wilson Collection,” Thomas Elder, October 1908 – $715; H.O. Granberg; “The William Cutler Atwater Collection,” June 1946, Lot 1126 – $840; “The James A. Stack, Sr., Collection,” November 1989, Lot 368. As NGC #1801405-001. Heritage Auctions, January 1998, Lot 6631 – $84,000; Heritage Auctions, August 2000, Lot 6815; Heritage Auctions, January 2001, Lot 6699; Heritage Auctions, June 2001, Lot 7960 – $64,400; Heritage Auctions, August 2011, Lot 7065 – $212,750; Superior, June 2002, Lot 4138; David Lawrence Rare Coins, July 2004, Lot 3054; Heritage Auctions, July 2011, Lot 7065; Goldberg Auctioneers, January 2015, Lot 1145; As NGC AU50 #3319293-002. Stack’s Bowers, November 14, 2019, Lot 3045 – $192,000. Pedigree information assisted by Stack’s Bowers. Atwater on insert.
  • PCGS XF45 #04320640: “The Steve Glenn Collection,” Heritage Auctions, April 27, 2006, Lot 1868 – $299,000; “The Joseph C. Thomas Collection,” Heritage Auctions, April 30, 2009, Lot 2186 – $195,500. Thin scratch across the cheek.

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Design

Obverse:

On the obverse, a youthful Liberty faces right, with long hair cascading down her neck and a decorative ribbon tied at the back. The shoulders and neckline are loosely draped with a rippled cloth. The word LIBERTY is centered at the top inside the border dentils, with the date centered at the bottom. Thirteen six-point stars fill the spaces between the date and LIBERTY, seven to the left and six to the right. The 1800 LIBEKTY variety is missing most of the horizontal top bar of the letter R, giving a first-glance impression of being a letter “K”.

Reverse:

The reverse displays UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around the edge of the coin inside a denticled rim, UNITED and STATES, and OF and AMERICA separated by the tips of the eagle’s outstretched wings. The centrally placed eagle holds in its beak a loop of a banner displaying E PLURIBUS UNUM. The banner curls in front of the eagle’s right wing but behind its left wing. The eagle’s body is covered by a Union Shield, and its left claw holds an olive branch, the right a cluster of arrows. Thirteen small six-point stars are arranged above the eagle, six in the top row, five in the row below, and one to each side of the eagle’s head. Above the stars and below STATES OF is a concentric line of clouds stretching from wing to wing. No denomination or mint mark appears on the coins; all were minted in Philadelphia.

Edge:

The edge of the 1802 Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle half dime is reeded.

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1802
Denomination: Half Dime (Five Cents USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: Estimates range from 1,000 to 3,060
Alloy: .8924 Silver, .1076 Copper
Weight: 1.35 g
Diameter: 16.5 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Robert Scot
REV Designer: Robert Scot
Quality: Business Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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