Photograde book of United States coins, he stated that the hardest coins for him to find were the Draped Bust, Small Eagle type coins. If you are forming a type set of U.S. coins from 1792 to date, this group of coins is the spot where "the rubber meets the road." These coins are expensive, and they are hard to find. You be lucky to see any of them at the small coins shows, and you will see only a limited number at the large shows. Finding select examples for the grade is even harder. I started this set in the early 1980s. Since I have collected the early half dimes and dollars by date, I will provide few alternative coins to see which you prefer. This 1796 half dime is the highest grade piece I have at AU-58, CAC. This is a "glamor shot" that was supplied by the dealer. I have never been able to photograph this coin well. The 1796 half dime is rarer than the 1794 half dime. There is a overdate, 1796 over 5, which is very scarce. In the 1950's Walter Breen claimed that only about seven or eight existed and all but one of them were Uncs. His survey was too dependent upon big auctions. The truth is there are perhaps 50 of them. I missed the chance to get a decent example of that coin, have only a VG to "plug the hole." This 1797, 15 star half dime is in an "old fatty" NCG AU-53 holder. It is probably better than that, but strike iissues limit the grade. All of these coins were poorly struck with the eagle showing little detail on the reverse, and the weak spot in the center of the obverse. This was my type coin for many years. This 1797, 16 half dime is in some ways the best of the three, but the scratch on the bust resulted in a net grade to AU-53 in my opinion. Otherwise it would have been an AU-58. The dies were not clashed the way they were on the 1796 half dime, which opened this post. This 1796 dime is believed to be the first die pair that was used to make dimes. The diagnostic is the die cud to the left of the date. When I sent this into PCGS for grading, I figured that I would get a VF-35. I was surprised when it came back as an AU-50. Although here is enough luster there to make that grade, the obverse die was getting toward end of its life, and the hair detail is not strong. It also has a couple of adjustment marks on the reverse. I bought this piece in the early 1980s from a Boston bid wall operation. The 1796 Quarter is type collector's treasure. It is a one year type with a mintage of 6,146. The survival rate was on the high side, however. I believe that about 350 of these exist in all grades. Under normal circumstances, the number of survivors would have been 120 or so. If you are in the market for one of these, don't reject it because the eagle's head is weak. They are almost all made that way. A piece with a "strong head" might be from a mint other than Philadelphia, if you follow my drift. This coin is PCGS graded VF-25. It came from the same bid wall as the 1796 dime. The 1796-7 half dollar is the "holly grail" for type collectors. The combined mintage for the two years was 3,918. This one grades Fine-15. I had hoped to get a VF to match my 1796 Quarter, that was not met to be. In his type coin book, Dave Bowers estimated the surviving population of this type to be 220 to 325 pieces. He thought that there are 20 to 25 Mint State examples. This was a favorite coin for the legendary Ned Green who was the son of "the witch of Wall Street" Hetty Green. Ned was said to have had a small hoard of Proof-Like examples. I saw one of these at a large coin show in the mid 1970s. The price was $46,000. For me it might as well have been $46 million. Today that coin could sell for $1 million in the right venue. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle dollar is the most common of the coins I have shown you in this thread. They are always available for a price. This one is graded AU-53. I like it, but some people don't because it's been dipped and re-toned a bit. I've had it for almost 10 years, so it's stable. This 1797 dollar is graded EF-45, but I like it a little more than the previous piece. According to the dealer from whom I purchased this piece, the collector who had it was obcessed with buying original coins. Unfortunately he passed on, and his widow consigned the piece to that dealer. Original, lightly circulated early coins don't get much better than this one. These coins form "the heart" of a complete U.S. type set. As a group, these coins are as tough as it gets.