US Coins

Overton 102 1797 Draped Bust half dollar in auction

Among the many collections presented at Heritage’s various auctions held Jan. 3 to 8 in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists convention in Tampa were selections from the estate of Heritage cataloger Dr. Jon Amato, who passed away last year. Amato’s type set was especially strong in its presentation of handsome type coins in collector grades, and the more than 40 coins offered from his collection provided evidence of the careful connoisseurship of this researcher, whose contributions to the hobby will be long-remembered.

Here’s one of three highlights from the Amato type set:

The Lot:

1797 Draped Bust half dollar

The Price:

$40,800

The Story:

Dr. Amato literally wrote the book on this rare two-year type coin — his 2012 reference The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796–1797, which provides a census of all known examples. The researcher selected an example of the Overton 102 variety of a 1797 Draped Bust half dollar to represent the type in his collection, which he listed as Amato 527 in his book.


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Called “An Upstate New York Collector’s Specimen,” Amato wrote about his coin in detail, recording: “Moderate mark midway between star 3 and third curl from the top. Horizontal pinscratch from bottom of neck curl into hair, in line with inner point of star 3. Minor rim ding above first T of STATES, and another above space between AM in AMERICA. Faint vertical staple scratch through right (facing) wing.” 

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The collector purchased it from Northeast Numismatics in April 1996, and at Heritage’s Jan. 4 Platinum Night auction the treasured half dollar — graded Fine 12 by ANACS and housed in an early generation, small-sized ANACS holder — sold for $40,800.


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