1795 H10C MS62. V-5, LM-8, R.3. The years 1795 and 1796 were busy and productive ones for the fledgling U.S. Mint. Director Henry DeSaussure--continuing his dual missions to produce circulating gold coinage and to improve the design of circulating silver coinage--employed the noted portraitist Gilbert Stuart in the summer of 1795 to fashion a new portrait of Liberty to replace the unpopular Flowing Hair design on silver denominations. From those sketches, artist John Eckstein prepared obverse device punches, and Chief Engraver Robert Scot prepared dies conforming to the Mint Act of 1792. The new Draped Bust, Small Eagle design was introduced first in 1795 on the silver dollar. Although no 1795 half dimes with the Draped Bust motif were coined, a 1795-dated obverse die of the new design was produced. The recorded mintage of 86,416 half dimes included both 1794- and 1795-dated pieces, but about three times as many 1795 pieces have been certified. The mintage of 1795 half dimes was divided into 10 different die marriages, most of them quite scarce. This coin is a representative of the scarce LM-8 variety. It is identifiable by the position of star 1 between curls 1 and 2 on the obverse and the wreath with no berries under the left wing of the eagle on the reverse. The LM-8 variety is one of the more available marriages, and is a popular choice with early type collectors. The number of high quality LM-8 half dimes is explained by its presence in a hoard mentioned by Walter Breen in his Proof Encyclopedia of more than 100 Mint State Flowing Hair half dimes, of this and two other varieties, discovered in the 1870s and dispersed by William Elliot Woodward around 1880, known as the Wadsworth-Rea hoard. On this variety there are seven curls, the first star points between curls 2 and 3, and the reverse shows the berries arranged 3-4 with none beneath the wings. There is no berry inside or outside of the U in UNITED, and a spike protrudes from the wreath and points between the first T and A of STATES. The bold diagnostic obverse die crack extends from the upper rim to Y in LIBERTY to the nose and then across the neck to the top of the 7 in the date. This variety is most easily attributed by the lack of berries around the lower left portion of the wreath and the relative position of the lowest outside left leaf relative to the U in UNITED. The die crack through the Y in LIBERTY also confirms this die pairing. The present example is sharper than most and centered, normally not seen on most early Bust design half dimes. No adjustment marks are apparent on either side of this coin.
Valentine 1 - Very Rare
Valentine 2 - Rare
Valentine 3 - Very Rare
Valentine 4 - Scarce
Valentine 5 - Scarce
Valentine 6 - Very Scarce
Valentine 7 - Very Rare
Valentine 8 - Very Rare
Valentine 9 - Very Rare
Valentine 10 - Extremely Rare
Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837" by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey
American Numismatic Rarities 11/2004:471, $161,000 - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack’s/Bowers & Sotheby’s 5/2015:1004, $176,250
Sign up for our FREE Newsletter!