US Coins

Market Analysis: Adjustment marks mar 1795 half dime

Usually one can only imagine why a coin might return to auction quickly.

The profiled 1795 Flowing Hair half dime graded Mint State 63 by Professional Coin Grading Service sold for $10,800 at Heritage’s June Long Beach Expo auction and returned to the market several months later at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ November Baltimore Rarities Night auction where it realized $9,600. 

It’s a distinctive coin, with Stack’s Bowers noting, “Concentrations of adjustment marks over Liberty’s cheek and throughout the hair are as made, and they explain the softness of detail in those areas as well as on the reverse at the eagle’s wings and breast.”

Adjustment marks are found on many early silver coins from the U.S. Mint, where they were made to reduce a planchet’s weight. 

Heritage was more blunt in its assessment, writing, “The strike is decent for the issue, with noticeable weakness on the upper curls of Liberty and the eagle’s breast. Heavy adjustment marks cross Liberty’s face and hair, disturbing several important design elements,” though that cataloger acknowledged the limitations of the U.S. Mint in its first few years, writing, “Rolling out silver ingots into precisely the correct thickness for planchets must have been a nightmare.”

An exceptional example graded PCGS MS-63 with a green CAC sticker sold for $20,563 at Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers’ September 2017 Pre-Long Beach auction, to provide a sense of the discount the market has applied to this visually interesting example that isn’t for everyone. 

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