Lot 485: 1795 Overton-106
One area of numismatics is greatly overlooked today—the series of early half dollars from 1794 through 1807. While the later Capped Bust half dollars from 1807 to 1836 remain widely collected and have strong numismatic club support, the higher base price of earlier pieces has left them poor older sisters to the later coins. Another factor which has played into this of late is the passing of several advanced collectors in the series; the coin market has been awash in these early coins from estates. Being able to obtain many Condition Census coins in the last six years provides a tremendous opportunity for astute collectors.
While the entire span of die varieties from 1794 to 1807 includes some virtually impossible coins to obtain—unique die pairings and formidable rarities too—there remains a broad sweep of coins that encompasses all the follies and foibles of the early Mint that can be had for a song today. In the year 1795 there are several examples of advanced die cracks and two major head style punches, as well as blundered die engraving with mispunched letters and stars. In 1806 many of these blunders continue to appear on the various dies used.
One of the more interesting die cracks on a 1795 half dollar can be seen on a coin being offered in our August 8th Boston auction as Lot 485. It is arguably the second finest known 1795 Overton-106, in Very Fine-20 (PCGS). The reverse has a broad bisecting die crack right through the eagle’s head and breast. Not many were coined and perhaps 25 to 30 exist today, virtually all in grades of VG or lower, and several show damage or other surface issues. The coin we offer has outstanding old patina, an advanced die state with the crack heavy, and great eye appeal. With most other early silver series showing considerable price gains over the past decade, it is a remarkable opportunity to buy these important early half dollars at a time when their prices have remained comparably stable, and while most collectors are focusing on other series.