US Coins

1796 Draped Bust half highlights Stack's Bowers auction

PCGS VF-35 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle, 16 Stars Obverse half dollar brought $141,000 during the Oct. 14 Stack's Bowers Galleries auction in New York City.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries.

The Stack's Bowers Galleries 1,242-lot auction Oct. 14 in New York City generated total prices realized of $1.7 million, according to Stack's Bowers' president, Brian Kendrella.

The prices realized includes the 17.5 percent buyer's fee added to the final closing hammer price of each lot won.

Among the auction highlights from the sale were a 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle, 16 Stars half dollar; a 1794 Liberty Cap cent; an 1875-CC Seated Liberty 20-cent coin; an 1861-D Indian Head gold dollar; and an 1855 Wass, Molitor & Co., $20 pioneer gold coin.

1796 Draped Bust half dollar

The 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle, 16 Stars half dollar, graded Very Fine 35 by Professional Coin Grading Service, brought $141,000. The coin is attributed as the Overton 102 variety as cataloged in the fifth edition of Early Half Dollar Die Varieties 1794-1836 by Donald Parsley, expanded and revised from the original work by Al C. Overton.

The Draped Bust, Small Eagle design was issued for just two years, 1796 and 1797, with only 3,918 half dollars reported to have been minted during the two-year period. Researchers believe no more than 250 to 300 half dollars dating 1796 and 1797 can be accounted for. The 1796 O-102 variety is considered known by fewer than 50 examples.

1794 Liberty Cap cent

The 1794 Liberty Cap, Head of 1794 cent, Sheldon 29 variety as cataloged in Penny Whimsy by William H. Sheldon, generated $49,937.50. The coin is graded Mint State 65 brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

According to the auctin lot descrioption, the coin was "struck from a late state of this die marriage, with myriad fine cracks on the obverse and a bolder reverse crack from the border at the letter R in AMERICA."

1875-CC Seated Liberty 20-cent coin

Seated Liberty 20-cent coins were struck at the Carson City Mint in the years 1875 and 1876 only. Of 133,290 1875-CC 20-cent coins reported struck, fewer than 3,000 examples are believed extant.

The example offered and sold by Stack's Bowers is graded NGC MS-65 and stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp. The coin brought $34,662.50.

Lane J. Brunner and John M. Frost's book Double Dimes: The United States Twenty-Cent Piece released in January is the definitive reference for the series.

1861-D Indian Head gold dollar

Graded PCGS MS-61, the 1861-D Indian Head gold dollar struck at the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia realized $70,500.

The Dahlonega Mint gold dollar from 1861 is the only circulating coin of any type or denomination whose production took place completely under the auspices of the Confederate States of America. Two sets of dies were shipped from the Philadelphia Mint to the Dahlonega facility in December 1860. On Jan. 19, 1861, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union.

According to the auctin lot description, "It is estimated that somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 gold dollars were struck from a single die pair. Curiously, the obverse die was re-purposed from the 1860-D issue and shows the tell-tale weak U in UNITED."

The date appears on the reverse of all Coronet and Indian Head gold dollars.

1855 Wass, Molitor & Co. $20

The 1855 Wass, Molitor & Co., Small Head $20 pioneer gold coin is of the Kagin 7 variety as cataloged in Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States by Donald H. Kagin.

In 1855, the $20 coin was produced in two subtypes, one with a large head of Liberty and one with a small head, evidently taken from a die punch intended for the $10 coins, according to the auction lot description.

Certified PCGS VF-35, the example in the auction brought $44,062.50.

For more information on individual lots, visit the Stack's Bowers website.

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