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Incredible 1795 Silver Plug Flowing Hair Half Dollar to be Featured in our November 2015 Baltimore Rarities Night Auction

The Flowing Hair half dollars of 1794 and 1795 are scarce and desirable and always attract attention. Within the overall design type exists an even scarcer subset of pieces, those that exhibit a silver plug inserted into the center of the planchet before striking.  Most often encountered on the Flowing Hair dollars of the same year, a select few 1795 half dollars also display this feature. While overweight planchets were often filed in order to match the intrinsic with the stated value, adding precious metal required innovation. This technique was also employed on the pattern cents of 1792, though it was an attempt to reduce the amount of weighty copper needed to represent one cent worth of precious metal, and not necessarily to correct a manufacturing inaccuracy.

1795 Flowing Hair half dollars with a silver plug are considered to be a holy grail among enthusiasts. There is a certified population of just two examples listed for Overton-128 examples with a Silver Plug between both PCGS and NGC. Don Willis mentions the existence of three pieces total across all Overton varieties – two certified by PCGS and one raw coin – and it is possible that the present coin could be this third, previously raw, piece. Additionally, Stephen Herrman’s Auction and Mail Bid Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars lists three examples, one of which is likely the second PCGS certified piece referenced by Willis. Assuming the existence of five unique Silver Plug Flowing Hair half dollars, the finest two known are graded Fine-12 (PCGS), followed by the current Very Good-10 (NGC), an ungraded Good-6 piece, and a final unevaluated example.  While this census might be considered a bit conservative, even the most liberal assessments confirm these as true rarities. Very close in grade to the finest known, the present Condition Census offering is an elusive opportunity to bid on one of the most captivating relics of early U.S. numismatics.

This half dollar features deep olive-gold patina and devices that are smooth and glossy across the highest points, due to honest circulation. Considerable definition remains in the protected regions for the assigned grade level. Liberty’s portrait is uniformly bold and displays pleasing profile and hair elements. The silver plug is faintly visible at Liberty’s ear. A light circular outline is also apparent at the eagle’s breast-wing junction on the reverse, barely perceivable among the pleasing central design elements. The peripheral motifs are quite sharp on both sides, lacking the softness typically associated with this die pairing.

This exceptional Silver Plug 1795 half dollar is just one of the many treasures to be featured in our November 2015 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. For more information, and to reserve your copy of the catalog, please visit StacksBowers.com or call our offices at 1-800-458-4646.   

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