Featured Where I refuse to go.

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by johnmilton, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I have had a fascination with the early half dimes since I was in high school. I could not get over the fact that the same beautiful Draped Bust design that appeared on the Bust Dollar was also on such a tiny coin. The trouble these coins are so scarce, as a group, that I didn’t see my first one until I was a junior in college. A coin dealer, who had a shop in northern Delaware had an 1800, the most common Draped Bust, Large Eagle date, in what I remember to be VF. The asked price was $300. I added up all the money I had, as a college student, and could have bought it … if I decided that I didn’t want to eat.

    After I graduated from college and landed my first job, I got my first early half dime, an 1800 “LIBEKTY.” This Red Book variety was created when Robert Scott, who probably made the dies, used a broken letter punch for the "R" in "LIBERTY" that had an open spot at the top. It is moderately scarce with perhaps 275 to 325 examples known. Here it is.

    1800 Likerty HD O.jpg 1800 Likerty HD R.jpg

    And here is a close-up of the "LIBEKTY"

    1800 Libekty A detail O.jpg

    The flat spot to the left of the eagle's beak is a die injury, not a defect on the coin. There are two "LIBEKTY" varieties. The other one does not have that injury, but since there are only 10 or so known, I'll pass. At any rate I am only collecting by Red Book vareity, so I don't need it.

    Over the years, I have collected all of the Red Book varieties except one, the 1802 half dime. This is a classic rarity that had been a collectors' treasure for over 150 years. The coin has always been out of my reach although I have seen seven or eight of the estimated 35 to 40 survivors.

    Heritage just auctioned one. It might be the worst known. Back in the mid 1970s I saw one like this at a coin show in Nutley, New Jersey. The asking price was $850, and it might have been this one, for all I know. At any rate, here it is.

    1802 $18000 O.jpg 1802 $18000 R.jpg

    I would love to complete my set, but I could never bring myself to buy something like this.

    When I saw it in the auction, I speculated that someone would pay $10,000 for it, which seemed crazy to me. It reached that in the priliminary bidding before it got to the auction block. The selling price was $18,000. :eek:

    Oh well, I guess that will always be a hole in my set. It goes to show how far some collectors will go to fill a hole in a set.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  3. Penna_Boy

    Penna_Boy Just a nobody from the past

    Poor thing has had a rough life. I agree - pass.
    spirityoda likes this.
  4. Clawcoins

    Clawcoins Well-Known Member

    I love the half dimes too.
    But the auction prices bewilder me and I won't spend that amount for them whether I had the spare coin or not.
  5. masterswimmer

    masterswimmer Well-Known Member

    Great story @johnmilton

    That 1802 would definitely be a tough one to part with $18k (plus 20% auction fee ;) ).

    I wish you luck in your life's quest.
  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    No, the $18,000 included the buyers' fee.
  7. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Throw in free shipping, and now we're talking! :rolleyes:
  8. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    You missed it. That service was available on February 29, 2019. :woot: Sorry ... :angelic:
  9. C-B-D

    C-B-D U.S. Type Coins or death!

    The very first coin I ever submitted to PCGS.... in fact, it was the only coin I sent in, was the LIBEKTY 1800 draped bust half dime. I bought it on Ebay from a seller purporting it to be a draped bust dime, instead of a half dime. But I recognized it as the half dime. The easiest way to tell, for me, is that the top of the eagle's head it perfectly horizontal, whereas on the draped dime the eagle's head is slanted, almost like it is looking up slightly, at an angle. I ended up paying about $1000 for it, and it graded PCGS VF25. I was thrilled. It was my favorite U.S. coin design. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of it and I sold it to pay some bills. It was about 11 years ago now.
    Mainebill, CircCam and ksparrow like this.
  10. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

    Here you can read about my near miss with a coin you'd probably love to have . . . What's your best garage sale or flea market find

    - Mike
    GenX Enthusiast likes this.
  11. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Well Mike, you never know what might have been given that you never saw it. A VF would be quite a find. It really sucks that the guy let someone else cherrypick the collection after he had made a deal with you.

    I did see one at a Winter FUN show that was in a PCGS VF-30 holder. It had the sharpness, but there was a mark on the reverse that left me feeling that this coin might not have gotten a straight grade if it had been a date other than the 1802. For that reason I didn’t bend over backwards to try to raise the funds to buy it. Later I saw it in a major auction.
    ToughCOINS and GenX Enthusiast like this.
  12. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    Here's the early half dimes I got for my type set.

    1795 Flowing Hair PCGS VF-25

    1797 Draped Bust Small Eagle Reverse 15 Stars PCGS VF-30

    1800 Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Reverse PCGS VF-20
  13. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    I've got the Logan-McCloskey and the Durst books.
    I should take the time to ID the Die Varieties but I haven't -- yet.
  14. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I hope I don't spoil your fun, but here goes.

    1795, LM-9 It's an R-4 so it's a better than average variety. The 1795 half dime is the most common date in the early half dimes series. That tells you something.

    1797, LM-1 That is the most common 1797 variety. Note that the second and fourth 7s are not the same size. That indidates that Scot, who made the dies, punched in the first three digits "179" and added the last one when it was need. There was a 1796 over 5, and I think Scot was trying avoid doing that again.

    1800, LM-1, Which is the most common of the four 1800 varieties.
    arturo lozano jr. likes this.
  15. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

    I think I may have seen the same coin . . . Northeast?
  16. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    Thanks for doing the ID's.
    I'll do them also to check if I can do the correct ID.
    Sort of a sanity check on my capabilities.
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    That one is in a VG holder. Believe me, I have looked at it.
  18. physics-fan3.14

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

    Wow, that is an awful lot of money for a really awful coin.

    Why is this one so rare?
    Paul M. likes this.
  19. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The mintage was 3,060 and the survival rate came close to meeting the 1% rule - about 1% of the mintage survives unless there is one or more hoards.
    Paul M. likes this.
  20. physics-fan3.14

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

    Why was the mintage so low? That seems unusually low.
  21. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    A lot of these early coinage mintage are based upon delivery records and guesses. I’m using round numbers off the top of my head, but the mintage for 1794 half dimes is estimated to be 72,000 because that was the first delivery in 1795. Die state evidence showed that some 1795 half dimes were delivered before the 1794 coins so none of the 1794 coins were minted in 1794.

    For the 1796 Quarter Eagles, the first two deliveries totaling 960 were the No Stars coins, and 432 delivered in January 1797 were the Stars coins.

    The 1802 half dime is rare. There was a delivery of 3,060 coins made at the time, so that must have been the 1802 coins. What appears to be carved in stone is based on available data and assumptions. If you would like more of this, read the Dave Bowers book on Bust Dollars. He devotes a chapter to this and re-calibrates the numbers in The Red Book.
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