US Coins

Market Analysis: Unique 1796 silver half dollar

Heritage offered an “affordable” 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle, 16 Stars Obverse, half dollar with Good details, and a prominent counterstamp on the obverse that sold at auction Aug. 18 for $21,600.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

One of the most coveted type coins is the Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar of 1796 and 1797.

The 1796 issues have two obverse subtypes: one with 15 stars on the obverse and another with 16 stars.

Heritage offered a 1796 Draped Bust, 16 Obverse Stars half dollar of the Overton 102 variety that was among the most affordable of the design type to come to auction in recent years. It was graded Good Details, Obverse Damage by NGC and carried a prominent J.B. ADAM counterstamp on the obverse, raised within a vertically aligned rectangular depression.

Heritage wrote, “While no confirmed identity of the counterstamper is known, it is undoubtedly unique on a 1796 half dollar and of perhaps secondary importance to its attractive host.”

Praising the well-defined obverse details while observing flatness on the reverse opposite the counterstamp, the cataloger noted, “The NGC ‘Damage’ designation may refer to a scattering of pinprick marks around the portrait, with a few similar marks seen less frequently on the reverse.”

It sold for $21,600 on Aug. 18.

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