1794 50C F15 Certification #04650026, PCGS #6051
1794 was the first year for of the Half Dollar denomination (for some reason, no pattern Half Dollars were made in 1792 even though the Half Dollar was a part of the official, coinage scheme). The mintage reported for this inaugural year was only 23,464 pieces, which was less than a tenth of the following year. Because this was a high-denomination coin, few "man-on-the-street" types ever saw this coin, assuming they even knew it existed. Thus, very few ended being preserved for future generations.
Of the five Mint State 1794 Half Dollars, the star is the PCGS MS64 from the D. Brent Pogue Collection that sold for $763,750 in 2015. The next best example appears to be the Reed Hawn coin that last sold as part of the Queller Family Collection in 2002 for $195,500. That coin was called Choice Brilliant Uncirculated in 2002 and has not reappeared at auction since then.
Don WillisAny 1794 half in XF or better is scarce. Most come damaged or in low grade. With only 3 coins in mint state and 3 in AU58 the mystique of this first year issue grows even stronger when you are holding a high grade example in your hands. There are 11 different varieties for the year. The first 7 aren't too difficult to find but the last 4 are either R7 or R8 and nearly impossible to locate. Rumor is that a large hoard of app. 200 exists on the West Coast.