Coin Specifications

Category: Early Halves (1794-1839)
Mint: Philadelphia
Catalog: KM-26
Obverse Designer: Robert Scot
Reverse Designer: Robert Scot
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.8920
Weight: 13.4800g
ASW: 0.3866oz
Melt Value: $7.54 (8/29/2014)
Diameter: 32.5mm
Edge: FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1796 16 STARS 50C MS obverse 1796 16 STARS 50C MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

The Draped bust Small Eagle half dollar of 1796-1797 saw a paltry mintage of 3,918 pieces, making it one of the rarest of U.S. type coins. This low production figure can be attributed to several factors, the most important of which may have been that most bullion depositors wanted dollars for their silver, not half dollars or smaller denomination coins. Second, an illegal silver standard of 0.900 fine in effect for 1794-1795 coinage instead of the 0.8924+ prescribed by the Mint Act of 1792 discouraged merchants and bankers from bringing silver bullion to the Mint for coinage into any denomination (see Don Taxay, U.S. Mint and Coinage, p. 89, for a discussion of the effect this illegal standard had on the dollar amount depositors received for their silver). Third, a yellow fever epidemic forced the closing of the mint from late August to late November 1797. Finally, the years 1794 and 1795 saw a relatively hefty production of more than 300,000 half dollars of the Flowing Hair design type.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/28/2014

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1796 16 STARS 50C MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 44000 57500 72500 87500 128500 128500 182500 192500 220000 265000 315000 340000 370000 435000 525000 - - - - - -
$ 140000 200000 210000 235000 290000 340000 375000 405000 475000 587500 - - - -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 12
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 65


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
5/4/2005 PCGS F 12   Heritage Auctions 2005 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Auction #372, 372/Lot# 7100 $46,000.00
5/28/2006 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg May 28-31, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 36/Lot# 2908 $414,000.00
10/13/2011 NGC F 12   Heritage Auctions 2011 October 13-16 US Coins Signature Auction #1160- Pittsburgh Session(1), 1160/Lot# 3674 $28,750.00
10/17/2012 PCGS F 12   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 3138 $69,000.00
1/9/2013 PCGS AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2013 January 9-13 US Coin FUN Signature Auction - Orlando Session(4), 1181/Lot# 5623 $211,500.00
7/27/2013 PCGS F 12   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4104 $88,125.00
11/15/2013 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2013 November 15 - 16 Selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection, Part II Signature Auction - New York Session(2), 1190/Lot# 33419 $470,000.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1796 16 STARS 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base574766856951775684281004310430107881128911598120291229912571130081344617884210532519230664111
606067747219798089661017210549109551139211742121191239012717131541492518940224332701630664110
00000010549109551139211742121191239012717131541492518940224332701630664100
00000010669111221149511885122091248012862133001640519997238122884030664100
1796 16 STARS 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base5973693872108038872710384107801114711660119771241812694129731342013869184052164111111
6295702974868268927910516109021131811766121241251012787131221357015381194842164111110
000000109021131811766121241251012787131221357015381194842164111100
000000110251148911871122711260212880132711371916893205622164111100
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