Bill Jones' Early Half Dimes
1797 13 Stars
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||HALF DIMES - DRAPED BUST, SMALL EAGLE
||H10C 1797 13 STARS LM-4
||NGC VF 35
Despite the fact that price catalogs assign little or no premium to the 13 star variety, this is a very scarce coin. Listed as LM-4, the 1797, 13 star half dime is rated as an R-6, which translates to 13 to 30 examples known. Usually this variety only shows up one or two times a year in the major auctions. I was fortunate to purchase this coin in the 1980s.
The 1797 13 star half dimes were last of the Draped Bust, Small Eagle type. After the mint produced the 16 star coins, the powers at be came to the logical conclusion that there was no more room for addition stars as more states joined the union. That lead to a decision to honor the original states with 13 stars. This pattern would continue for many years in the U.S. coin series.