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HomeUS CoinsExclusive Video: Let's Talk About the 1802 Draped Bust Half Dollar

Exclusive Video: Let’s Talk About the 1802 Draped Bust Half Dollar


Today, CoinWeek Editor Charles Morgan takes a look at the 1802-dated Overton-101 Draped Bust half dollar. We have a circulated example to share with you and we have obscured the grade so that you can grade it yourself. Let us know what grade you think PCGS gave it in the comments on our YouTube channel.

Experienced collectors of United States coins will recognize the design of the coin as the Draped Bust type.

The draped bust half dollar features one of the most iconic designs in American numismatics. The story goes that Rhode Island artist Gilbert Stuart created the design as a way to beautiful American coins. The early designs from the United States Mint were crude and not to Stuart’s taste apparently.

Chief Engraver Robert Scot would have executed the dies.

The Draped Bust half dollar was struck from 1796-1807, but not continuously. There were no examples produced with the dates 1798, 1799, or 1800 – nor were there any examples struck on dies dated 1804.

Early Mint records, which aren’t always reliable, tell us that half dollars were delivered on three separate dates in 1803. 7,910 were delivered on January 26. 19,660 on December 8. And 2,320 on December 10.  Demand for the denomination would explode when the Mint stopped production of silver dollars starting in the summer of 1803.

Beyond its low mintage, another aspect that makes this coin so interesting is that it is highly elusive in Mint State. But somewhat available in XF45 and below. There are currently no Mint State examples accounted for the NGC census tables and only three at PCGS.

The finest known is the Pogue coin, which graded only MS62. I saw this coin in person before it was auctioned in 2015, realizing $117,500 after spirited bidding.

The example we have to show you today is in the lower end of midrange for what is available in the circulated grades.

This coin retains much of its detail and has a grey-almost-bisque appearance.

What do you think of the coin’s eye appeal? I’m not so sure that this would be the right coin for me. But maybe I’m just too used to looking at AU/MS coins. I might be biased.

Recent auction records in the mid-circulated grades for problem-free certified coins range from $3,000 to $7,500 depending on grade. What grade do you think this coin is and what would you say its current value is based on recent sales data?

Let us know in the comments field below. Until next time, I’m Charles Morgan for CoinWeek- happy collecting.

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Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker’s 100 Greatest Modern World Coins has gotten five-star reviews on Amazon and Lou Golino and David T. Alexander both gave the book their highest recommendations.

Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan is an award-winning numismatic author and the editor and publisher of CoinWeek.com. Along with co-author Hubert Walker, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the "Market Whimsy" column for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing. From 2021-2023, Charles served as Governor of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), where he was bestowed the Glenn Smedley Award. Charles is a member of numerous numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG).

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