US Coins

Market Analysis: This coin’s lines aren’t scratches

These heavy lines aren’t scratches, but adjustment marks made at the U.S. mint to bring a planchet within weight specifications. This O-115 AU-53 1795 Flowing Hair half dollar brought $4,320 on April 23.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Early U.S. coins with planchet adjustment marks are confusing for collectors. Generally, grading services do not consider these to be damage as they occurred at the U.S. Mint. PCGS explains, “As gold and silver literally was money in those days, and the preparation of planchets was often inconsistent, slightly overweight planchets were filed down across the design to remove excess metal.”

Professional Coin Grading Service has graded this 1795 Flowing Hair, 2 Leaves half dollar About Uncirculated 53, and beyond the heavy planchet adjustment marks that criss-cross the obverse, Heritage observes, “Both the obverse and reverse dies show prominent die cracks, with the reverse die the first to fail.”

The Overton 115 die pairing as cataloged in the reference to the series is scarce overall, and rare in high grades. This one is among the finest-known of the variety and sold for $4,320, with the market likely discounting the coin for its heavy, visually distracting adjustment marks.

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