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DRAPED BUST HALF DOLLARS (1796-1807)
DRAPED BUST, SMALL EAGLE REVERSE HALF DOLLAR (1796-1797)

Half Dollars - The Draped Bust half dollar was made only two years after the Flowing Hair type. The second Mint Director, Henry William DeSaussure wanted to improve the country’s coinage, and he ordered the change in design. However, he resigned after five months as Director. His successor, Elias Boudinot was appointed when the new half dollars were minted. The Draped Bust motif was first used on the silver dollar in 1795 and then on the other silver coinage in 1796. John Eckstein used a Gilbert Stuart portrait for his model of Liberty, and Robert Scot made the dies from Eckstein’s impression. Stuart apparently did not like the result and disassociated himself from the work. The 1796 and 1797 half dollars are the rarest circulation strike coins made by the United States Mint. Not many were made, and only a few were saved. Most found today are in circulated condition.

DATE NOTES
1796 Half Dollar

Made with both 15 and 16 obverse stars.

1797 Half Dollar

Extremely rare, but most common issue of this type.

DRAPED BUST, LARGE EAGLE REVERSE HALF DOLLAR (1801-1807)

The Draped Bust motif, last used in 1797 for the half dollar, reappeared after a three-year gap. It was used until 1807 with 13 stars, seven on the left and six on the right. In 1801 the Heraldic or Large Eagle reverse was introduced. The design was adapted from The Great Seal of the United States. In an accident of design or statement of militancy, the traditional location of arrows and olive branch were switched, perhaps as a warning to France andother European countries concerning the sovereignty of the U.S.

DATE NOTES
1801 Half Dollar

No half dollars were made between 1798 and 1800. First coin using the Large Eagle, Heraldic design. Expensive AU and finer. Few in Mint State available.

1802 Half Dollar

Only one variety—the only use of the obv. and rev. dies.

1803 Half Dollar

Varieties: Small and Large 3, Small and Large rev. stars.

1805 Half Dollar

Both Normal Date and 5 Over 4.

1806 Half Dollar

Varieties: 6 Over 5; 6 Over Inverted 6; Knob 6, Lg. Stars; Knob 6, Sm. Stars; Knob 6, Stem Not Through Claw; Pointed 6, Stem Through Claw; Pointed 6, Stem Through Claw with E over A in STATES; Pointed 6, Stem Not Through Claw.

1807 Half Dollar

Mintage includes many 1806s. Edge lettering—no ornament between words. All A’s have broken serifs.



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Half Dollars - Draped Bust Half Dollars

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