Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Cap Half Cents (1793-1797)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 119,215
Catalog: KM-14
Obverse Designer: John Smith Gardner?
Reverse Designer: Robert Scot
Composition: Copper
Weight: 5.44 Grams
Diameter: 23.5mm
Edge: Plain
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1797 PLAIN EDGE 1/2C MS obverse 1797 PLAIN EDGE 1/2C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

The number of half cents coined with the date 1797 is not certain, one source putting the number at 127,840 pieces. Only three die marriages are known, but added to these are variations in thickness and planchet stock.

The majority of 1797 have the plain edge continued from 1796, but one variety (Cohen-3b) is thicker than normal and features a lettered edge. It's believed that these were coined using cut-down large cent planchets, and the edge lettering style differs from any used previously. Also known are coins struck on cut-down Talbot, Allum & Lee tokens that the Mint purchased due to the shortage of good copper.

A popular variety is C-1, which has a duplicate numeral 1 placed directly over the primary 1, a result of the engraver beginning his date punching too close to the bust (photos). Another popular variety is C-3a, known as the Low Head because the hubbing was performed off-center. The "a" subvariety was coined on plain edge planchets.

Since no half cent dies were created with the dates 1798 or 1799, those dated 1797 were used as late as 1800. This helps to explain the uncertainty about the number actually coined bearing the 1797 date.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/16/2015

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1797 PLAIN EDGE 1/2C MS Brown
Base $ 530 800 1350 2200 4300 7100 8250 10350 12750 - - - - - - - - - -
$ 4700 7650 9000 11100 14500 - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 128
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: VF
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/30/2010 PCGS Genuine Genuine   Red Brown Bonhams Coins, Medals, and Banknotes, 18301/Lot# 1121 $198.00
7/8/2010 NGC Details VG Details  Heritage Auctions 2010 July Orlando, FL (Summer FUN) Signature US Coin Auction #1142, 1142/Lot# 7023 $488.75
2/22/2013 NGC Details G Details  Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 6409 $296.10
4/28/2013 NGC Details AG Details  GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 04/28/2013, 72/Lot# 112454 $132.82
8/18/2013 PCGS MS 98   Brown David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 765, 774/Lot# 1 $450.00
9/16/2013 PCGS AG 3   Brown Teletrade Auction 3448, 3448/Lot# 1003 $305.50
1/26/2014 PCGS MS 66   Brown Goldberg January 26, 2014 The Missouri Cabinet, 77/Lot# 43 $402,500.00
2/15/2015 PCGS Genuine G   Brown Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131508/Lot# 27418 $152.75

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1797 PLAIN EDGE 1/2C MS Brown
1797 PLAIN EDGE 1/2C MS Red Brown
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