By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
The half dime is significant as the first denomination struck by the United States Mint, starting with the “small beginning” of 1,500 half dismes delivered to Thomas Jefferson on July 13, 1792. The next issue of half dimes featured the Flowing Hair type designed by Robert Scot. While the dies for 1794 half dimes were ready by year’s end, they were not put into service until 1795. All told, 86,416 Flowing Hair half dimes were struck that year, of which 78,660 were dated 1795. In 1796, the obverse was replaced with the Draped Bust motif.
With Liberty’s distinctive flowing hair and the delicate small eagle on the reverse, this design type has long been a favorite among devotees of early American coins. Demand among type collectors has remained steady over the years and has put significant pressure on the 1795-dated pieces. The denomination saw heavy use in commerce and the vast majority of specimens are in lower circulated grade levels, and many are damaged or have other surface problems.
In our March 2020 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo, we are delighted to feature a sharp AU-53 (PCGS) housed in a desirable Old Green Holder. It is attractive and original with considerable luster glowing around the devices. It is toned in appealing slate-grey hues with autumnal iridescence in the protected areas. The surfaces are largely smooth and without distracting abrasions, though adjustment marks streak vertically across Liberty’s portrait. Softness is noted at the eagle’s wings as is typical for the variety. Struck from the latest known die state, the obverse exhibits a pronounced cud break at the border outside the letters TY in LIBERTY and star 9. This little numismatic jewel would serve well in an advanced variety or type collection.
This AU-53 (PCGS) 1795 half dime will be featured in our March 2020 Baltimore Auction, which is highlighted by the D. Brent Pogue Collection, Parts VI and VII, the ESM Collection of Half Cents, and further rarities from the E. Horatio Morgan Collection. To consign your collection alongside these treasures or secure a copy of this exciting catalog speak with a numismatic representative today at 800-566-2580 or email [email protected]. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.