Bill Jones' Early Half Dimes
1797 16 Stars

Obverse:

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Reverse:

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Coin Details

Origin/Country: UNITED STATES
Design Description: HALF DIMES - DRAPED BUST
Item Description: H10C 1797
Full Grade: PCGS AU 53
Owner: BillJones

Set Details

Custom Sets: This coin is not in any custom sets.
Competitive Sets: Bill Jones' Early Half Dimes   Score: 4485
Research: NGC Coin Explorer NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

The 1797 LM-3 half dime was the second variety that had 16 stars on the obverse. The same 16 star obverse was used for the LM-2 and LM-3 varieties, but different reverse dies were used to strike the two varieties.

The experts tell you to count the number and placement of the berries on the wreath on the reverse to differentiate these two varieties, but I've discovered an easier way. The "short eagle" reverse was used for all of the 1797 LM-1, 15 star half dimes and most of the 1797 LM-2, 16 star pieces. Toward the end of the run for the 16 star coins, the reverse die was replaced with what I call the "tall eagle" design. The "tall eagle" design appears on all 1796 half dimes, and on the 1797 LM-3 and LM-4 pieces. There are minor differences between the various reverse dies, however, so you do have to count berries and note other differences to attribute those varieties.

The "short eagle" half dime varieties are never full struck on the reverse. The example above in the photograph on the right grades Fine by my standards and VF using "slab standards." There would be about the same feather detail on the eagle if that coin were in MS-65. The detail was simply never struck up on the coin. The reason was that the eagle design was engraved or punched too deeply in the die. The thin half dime planchets provided too little metal to fill the space when the coins were struck. Therefore most of the feather detail is missing.

The 1797 LM-3 half dime that is shown in the left photograph is a very choice example. The surfaces are original and defect free, aside from a scratch on Ms. Liberty's neck that probably knocked 2 to 5 points off of the grade. Ms. Liberty's hair detail on this piece is well defined and about as sharp as you will find on these tiny, quirky pieces.

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