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: $7.62 (4/19/2014)
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: 12/4/2013

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1796 16 STARS 50C MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 42000 50750 67000 86000 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
2/6/1995 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions February 1995 Long Beach Sale #130, 130/Lot# 5655 $41,800.00
1/30/2011 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg January 30 - February 3, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 62/Lot# 1413 $345,000.00
4/27/2011 PCGS FA 2   Heritage Auctions 2011 April Rosemont CSNS Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(3), 1154/Lot# 5138 $27,600.00
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
8/2/2012 PCGS VF 25   Heritage Auctions 2012 August 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Philadelphia Session(4), 1173/Lot# 5141 $105,750.00
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


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1796 16 STARS 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base574766856951775684281004310430107881128911598120291229912571130081344617884210532519230664111
605967737219798089661017210549109551139211741121191238912716131541492518940224322701630664110
00000010549109551139211741121191238912716131541492518940224322701630664100
00000010668111221149511885122091248012862133001640419996238122884030664100
1796 16 STARS 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base5747668569517756842810043104301078811289115981202912299125711300813446178842105311111
6059677372197980896610172105491095511392117411211912389127161315414925189402105311110
000000105491095511392117411211912389127161315414925189402105311100
000000106681112211495118851220912480128621330016404199962105311100
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