Estimated grade. Sold by B. Max Mehl Jun '41 price realized $16.5
Only one die variety (LM-4) comprises the entire mintage of the 1797 13 Stars Half Dime. This is a tough variety in any grade, but a sufficient number of high grade circulated examples bring the PCGS CoinFacts Condition Census up to the AU level. At the top end is a single PCGS MS63 -- the only Mint State example known, and the finest by a full five points. Saul Teichman reports a possible second Mint State example in the British Museum, though the exact condition has not been ascertained.
The strike quality of this variety is usually consistent and even on both sides, indicating the die faces remained paralle to each other. However, some examples show a weak strike on the highest points.
Jaime Hernandez: The Half Dime with small eagle design was only used in 1796 and 1797. Within those two years they used 6 different die pairings. The 1797 with 13 Stars variety is the second scarcest coin within these two years. Only the 1796/5 is scarcer due to its very low mintage.
Possibly less than 50 examples of the 1797 Half Dime with 13 Stars survive that would merit a grade, as all other surviving coins have been heavily damaged and cleaned.
British Museum number SSB, 168.77.3
Bob R. Simpson Collection
Price Collection - American Numismatic Rarities "Classics Sale" 3/2004:475, $29,900