Coin Specifications

Category: Draped Bust $5 (1795-1807)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 6,196
Catalog: KM-19
Obverse Designer: Robert Scot
Reverse Designer: Robert Scot
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9160
Weight: 8.7500g
AGW: 0.2577oz
Melt Value: $308.85 (10/30/2014)
Diameter: 25mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1796/5 $5 MS obverse 1796/5 $5 MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, A Study of Die States, 1795-1834, John Dannreuther rates the 1796/5 half eagle as High R.4, with an estimate of 80 to 100 known examples surviving today. Our experience is different, and we feel that Dannreuther was liberal in his estimate of survivors. Our opinion is that fewer than 50 half eagles bearing the 1796/5 overdate are still in existence today.

A comparison of mintage figures suggests that 1796 half eagles, with 6,196 coins struck, should be only slightly less rare than 1795 half eagles with 8,707 coins struck. However, mintage figures do little to explain the inner workings of the Philadelphia Mint in the 1790s. For the production of 1795-dated half eagles, the Mint made use of eight obverse dies and nine reverse dies in 12 combinations. Following that coinage, they used an extra 1795 obverse die that was overdated, along with a reverse die that had already been used, to produce the entire 1796-dated coinage from a single die combination. Novice collectors might assume that the 12 1795-dated varieties had an average mintage of 725 coins per die marriage, while more than 6,000 coins were struck from a single die the very next year.

A better interpretation of the 1795 and 1796 half eagle coinage is explained through the use of 13 die combinations to produce 14,903 coins, for an average of almost 1,150 coins per die marriage. Therefore, 1,150 pieces is the estimated mintage for 1796-dated half eagles. A second interpretation is the survival rate method. Our estimated current survival quantity reveals that about 3.6% of the original 1795-96 mintage still exists, yielding an estimated 1796 half eagle mintage of 1,377 coins. Either interpretation of the mintage figures will show that the 1796 half eagle is much rarer than 1795, and substantially undervalued today.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/28/2014

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1796/5 $5 MS
Base $ 12000 17750 24500 32000 43150 43150 63000 66000 79000 110000 130000 135000 230000 265000 385000 650000 - - - - -
$ 48500 - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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Total Graded: 35
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 65

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/14/2008 NGC MS 61   Goldberg September 14-16, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 48/Lot# 1248 $112,125.00
1/5/2011 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(3), 1151/Lot# 5079 $74,750.00
10/13/2011 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2011 October 13-16 US Coins Signature Auction #1160- Pittsburgh Session(3), 1160/Lot# 4856 $207,000.00
4/26/2012 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions 2012 April 25-May 1 World & Ancient Coins CICF Signature Auction- Chicago Session(5), 3019/Lot# 25617 $2,070.00
8/6/2014 PCGS AU 53   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 11060 $52,875.00
8/6/2014 PCGS   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 13202 $30,550.00
10/8/2014 PCGS Genuine XF   Heritage Auctions 2014 October 8 - 13 PNG New York Invitational US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(4), 1210/Lot# 4987 $15,862.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1796/5 $5 MS
1796/5 $5 MS Prooflike
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