Draped Bust Half Dime, Small Eagle Type, 1796-1797


Designed by: Robert Scot
Issued Date: 1796-1797
Composition: 0.8924 parts silver, 0.1076-part copper
Diameter: 16.5 mm
Weight: 20.8 grains
Edge: Reeded
Total Business Strike mintage: 54,757
Total Proof Strike mintage: None

The Draped Bust style is believed to have been the work of Robert Scot, who followed the proposal made by artist Gilbert Stuart. The obverse depicts Miss Liberty with flowing hair, a ribbon behind her head, with drapery covering her plunging neckline. LIBERTY is above and the date is below. 1796 half dimes have eight stars to the left and seven to the right on the obverse, while those dated 1797 come in three variations, with a total of 13, 15, or 16 stars. The reverse features an open wreath enclosing a small eagle perched on a cloud, the eagle being smaller in size than that used in 1794-1795, and with the cloud more pronounced and higher above the wreath bow. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds. There is no indication of value or denomination.

All half dimes of this design type are scarce. Most often encountered are lower grades from About Good through Fine. Very Fine pieces are elusive, Extremely Fine coins are rare and pieces in AU or better preservation are seldom met with. As is true other early silver coins, pieces are apt to have mint-caused adjustment marks and to be weakly struck in certain areas, particularly at the center of the eagle on the reverse.

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