A Special Half Dime
The 16 Stars was the second of three types of half dimes to be produced in 1797, after the 15 Stars and prior to the 13 Stars variant. Of the two 16 Stars varieties, this one has a leaf distant from the first T in STATES, while LM-2 has a leaf nearly touching the first T in STATES.
Logan and McCloskey call this a scarce half dime die marriage that is difficult to locate in Mint State. Currently, NGC reports that they have graded six examples of this half dime variety in Mint State, including one at MS66. PCGS has seen 14 Uncirculated examples of the 16 Stars type, including two Premium Gems; but those numbers are not broken down to distinguish between the LM-2 and LM-3 varieties.
Our upcoming October 15-18 Dallas Signature Auction features an example of the LM-2 variety graded MS66 by PCGS. This impressive half dime, conditionally rare specimen is sharply struck on the obverse, except for a few of the star centers. A pair of short, thick die cracks extends out from the rim: one to star 8, and another between stars 7 and 8. Faint die rust is evident near and among the date digits, and scattered at random in other areas. Die lines are seen beneath stars 10, 11, and 12; and star 13 is broadly recut. Die clash marks are evident in the right obverse field.
The half dime reverse is just as fully lustrous as the obverse, but shows deeper patina, especially near the peripheries where shades of deep-purple, golden-brown and yellow-gold are apparent. The astonishingly clean surfaces of this remarkable coin ensure its impressive high grade, which ranks it among the finest-known examples of this date, denomination, and die variety.
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In Other News – Changes to Bidding
Heritage Auctions has announced a change to its bidding practices that will allow more bidders to pursue items in online auctions.
Effective immediately, the increments in which collectors can bid in Internet absentee bidding will be cut in half. The change will not affect live bidding (including HA.com/Live), in order to save live bidders time by keeping the bidding in live sessions moving at a brisk pace.
“This change will benefit both buyers and sellers,” Heritage Auctions Co-Founder Jim Halperin said. “Cutting in half the size of bid increments will increase the confidence and aggressiveness of buyers who are unsure about increasing a bid, and it benefits the sellers by making more clients more likely to leave a proxy bid on a wider array of available lots.”
The change is significant for Heritage Auctions, as approximately 60% of Heritage Auctions’ 2018 sales were conducted online. With more than 40 categories of art, jewelry, collectibles, and other valuable objects, Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s leading collectibles auctioneer.