US Coins

Pogue's 1802 Draped Bust half dime isn't a gem

A recently released book by the late Dr. Jon P. Amato (1940-2017) focuses on a single issue: the 1802 Draped Bust half dime. The issue is without a doubt the key early half dime, but as the book’s introduction points out, “Despite its notoriety as a classic numismatic rarity, less is known about the 1802 half dime’s mintage and survival rate as compared with many other rare American coins.” The “Red Book” used to list the mintage as 13,010, but now lists it as 3,060 since it is unclear if all of the half dimes struck in 1802 were dated that year. All of the known examples were struck from a single die pair, and Amato identified 32 distinct coins from studying auction catalogs and dealer fixed-price lists from the 19th century onwards. 

Here’s the first of three 1802 half dimes sold at auction since 2014:

The Lot:

1802 Draped Bust half dime, About Uncirculated 50

The Price:


The Story:

The final piece acquired for the incredible D. Brent Pogue Collection was this Professional Coin Grading Service About Uncirculated 50 1802 Draped Bust half dime that realized $305,500 at the first Pogue auction on May 19, 2015. Considered perhaps the third finest known, the catalog notes, “That this is not a gem Mint State coin like so many of the other Pogue half dimes should not be a distraction, as no such 1802 half dime, nor anything close to it, exists.”

New information on the 1866-S No Motto Coins”New information on the 1866-S No Motto coins: Also in our last weekly issue of the month, John Kraljevich Jr. goes into what George Washington's ledger revealed, including how many gold doubloons he had on hand.

Pogue had selected it from Heritage’s offering of the Gene Gardner Collection in June 2014 where it brought $352,500 and it was previously offered at Heritage’s 2009 Central States Numismatic Society auction where — then graded Extremely Fine 45 — it sold for $195,500. Before that it sold for $299,000 at Heritage’s 2006 CSNS sale.

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The rapid succession of four auction offerings in less than a decade is unusual, especially considering that it was off the market until 2006. Its quality is widely recognized, since it served as the plate coin in The United States Half Dimes by Dr. Daniel W. Valentine (1931). A short horizontal scratch is seen on Liberty’s jawline, but it is well-concealed by the even gray, violet and gold toning. It is called the Valentine Specimen and listed on page 25 of Amato’s book.

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