US Coins

Reverse die break leads to 1795 Flowing Hair half dollar's reasonable price

A scarce O-106 1795 Flowing Hair half dollar, with a noteworthy reverse die crack, had been holed at one time, but was subsequently repaired. It sold for a reasonable $763.75 on April 23.

Heritage Auctions

The recent Central States Numismatic Society auctions by Heritage, April 22 to 26, presented an unusual opportunity for early half dollar collectors as it offered more than 50 separate 1795 Flowing Hair half dollars. Many came from the collection of Robert P. Hilt, who collected half dollars by variety as listed in the standard reference to the series, Al Overton’s Early Half Dollar Die Varieties 1794-1836. Collectors love these early half dollars, with odd varieties that document many of the issues that accompanied producing coins more than 200 years ago at the Philadelphia Mint.

The Coin 

1795 Flowing Hair half dollar, O-106, Very Good Details, Plugged

The Price 


The Story 

Just three of the 52 1795 Flowing Hair half dollars sold for less than $800 at the 2015 Heritage CSNS sale. Each of these had somewhat severe problems. An example from the Hilt Collection, of the O-106 variety, that was once holed and had been repaired was graded NGC Very Good Details, Plugged and sold for a reasonable $763.75.

The variety is very scarce, and Heritage notes: “Many advanced collections are missing this die marriage, although it can be found for a price.” This variety is characterized by a massive reverse die break that splits the reverse across the eagle’s right wing and neck. The repair was done skillfully and the resulting surfaces have retoned nicely, making this a suitable choice for the budget-minded collector looking for a filler example of this very tough Overton variety.

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