1795 Half Dime Questions

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Publius2, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    I recently picked up this 1795 half dime, graded NGC VF-35 but with what appears to be a weak strike at the same regions on the obverse and reverse (obverse K7 to 9, reverse K8 to 9+). I was able to attribute it from the seller photos as the LM-3, Rarity 5 according to my Logan-McCloskey book, published 1998. The obverse is #3, first and only use. The reverse is D and is the first use of this die.

    The obverse is showing the two major die cracks indicating a middle to late die state.

    The reverse is showing indications of the die scratches and maybe a die crack.

    Despite what appears to be a weak strike, which figured into the lower than usual price, I figure the scarcer die marriage made it a decent acquisition for my type set.

    The questions are:

    1) Has anyone seen this die state and have I interpreted things correctly?
    2) Is this indeed a weak strike or is it just related to the die state?
    3) Is this still an R-5 or has more recent research changed it?

    PCGS pop report lists 685 in all grades, NGC is 142. I imagine there aren't very many out there unslabbed. I also imagine there aren't many die variety collectors of this two year series?

    I would suspect our resident expert on early half dimes, @johnmilton, might have some insight here and I would be grateful for any comments from anyone.

    DSC_1080-side.jpg DSC_1080.jpg DSC_1081.jpg
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  3. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I don't have as many insights as you might think. I attribute all of the coins I have by die variety, but my collection is based upon what is covered in The Red Book. There might be be a few die variety collectors out there, but there can't be many. It seems that a lot of collectors who would have the cash to collect early half dimes by variety don't like them because they are "too small."

    There are 14 known varieites of the 1794-5 half dimes. The 1794 varieties have two scarce to rare ones and two scarcer than average pieces (R-3 or R-4). The 1795 half dime is the most common date in the early series (1792 - 1805), but there are 10 varieties. Most of them are LM numbers 8, 9 and 10. It's possilbe to find the others because most people don't attribure them, but they are expesive regardless of that.

    You can be happy that you own a rare die combination, but finding the collector who will pay for that might be rarer than the coin.

    So far as the grade goes, I'd say yes, the coin is an EF, looking at the reverse, but the obverse is the more important side with respect to the grade, and it has a VF look to it.
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  4. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    From 29 to 73 ask me...if I dont hnow ill find out. I only wish I knew, and wish I had a beautiful specimen as yours.
    I would love to have just 1 as a example of early h-10's
  5. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your comments. I agree that the market for die varieties of this series must be small, maybe vanishingly small and they must all be well-heeled so the market for lesser-graded examples is probably quite small. Doesn't really matter to me - my collecting is not geared to making a profit.

    BTW, I just noticed on my obverse photograph a "halo" around the 5. It came off the slab with a thumbwipe. Guess I'll have to redo this photo.
  6. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    Here is an LM-3 from my collection. Purchased unattributed.
    Raw as most of my collection.

    What appears to be a defect or striking weakness at the head is in fact a characteristic of this variety. I saw a similar one in the HA Archives, and this is well described in the narrative as being characteristic.

    What die state this is in? I have no idea.
    1795 Half Dime V-2 LM-3 OBV5 N BETTER - 1.jpg 1795 Half Dime V-2 LM-3 REV4 N - 1.jpg
  7. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    When dies break, striking characteristics are a gamble. Things move, allowing the metal to be at the whim of physics. Also, in pouring bars and rolling out the strip, you don't get the perfectly thick planchets of later years.

    A very nice example, with lots of stories and tales.
  8. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Publius - if you can't get the information you need here, try asking the "John Reich Collector's Society." They put out a weekly email to people interested in early US coinage, and the top scholars on the subject are all members. Often, members will ask questions like yours and the next week's email will be full of interesting and useful information.
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  9. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    I've been a member for a couple of years but I'll admit to not taking full advantage of the contact possibilities - I'm kind of a loner.

    Thanks for the kick in the kiester.
  10. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Here is the coin in my "Red Book" collection. It is the most common variety, LM-10.

    1795HalfDimeO.JPG 1795HalfDimeR.JPG

    It found in England of all places. The late dealer, Billy Paul, bought from a London dealer who bought from one of those "little old ladies" with a purse full of mostly British coins. This among them. Paul tried to get it into an MS holder a couple fo times, but failed, probably because Ms. Liberty needed to "powder" her bright colored nose.

    And yes, I wanted one of these coins for a long time when I was kid.

    Here is my 1794, which is variety LM-3. This is second 1794 I have owned. I sold another one, which an LM-4 when I got this one as an upgrade. The previous one was an ANACS EF-45.

    All 1794 half dimes were made in 1795. We know that because an early die state of the 1794 reverses was used on a 1795 half dime before it was used on the 1794.

    Some day I will fix these photos, but that will have to be when I get access to my safe deposit box. The pandemic makes doing that a production.

    Attached Files:

    Mainebill likes this.
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