Coin Resource Center Includes Entry on 1796 LIKERTY Draped Bust Half Dime

Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Coin Resource center includes, at time of writing, entries covering two Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dimes: the 1797 16 Stars Variety and the 1796 LIKERTY variety, the latter a distinctive and notable early variety.

The fledgling U.S. Mint used two obverse dies to strike 1796 half dimes, one of which has a 1796/5 overdate, while the other has what seems to be a misspelled legend. A broken “B” punch used for the LIBERTY legend on the obverse resulted in a word resembling “LIKERTY” on the variety identified with Logan-McCloskey number 1. It is the more common of the two marriages of the date but with a combined mintage of just over 10,000 and a surviving population a fraction of that, mostly in low grades, neither variety is common. Half dimes dated 1797 are more common, though the short-lived Small Eagle subtype is generally scarce.

The Coin Resource Center’s entry on the LM-1 marriage includes a brief discussion of the broken punch and links to recent auction results and a Coins in Motion animation. The page covering the Small Eagle subtype that includes the entries on the 1796 LIKERTY and 1797 16 Stars Varieties covers the Small Eagle subtype with a lengthy description discussing different varieties and the circumstances behind their production.

The CRC is an evolving resource and edits from knowledgeable readers are appreciated. More entries on Draped Bust half dimes will be added.

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