Draped Bust Half Dollar (1796 – 1807)

#1 Draped Bust Half Dollar Buyer Las Vegas & Henderson

History

The Draped Bust half dollar was minted from 1796 to 1807. It contained approximately 90% silver and 10% copper, (the exact fineness being .8924 silver and .1076 copper). It weighed 13.48 grams and had a diameter of 32.5 mm. The Draped Bust half dollar was only minted at the Philadelphia mint. The front, or “obverse” of the coin shows a bust of Liberty with long hair tied back with a ribbon. The term “draped bust” comes from the fact that Ms. Liberty has her bust encircled by the draping of her dress. Liberty is surrounded by fifteen stars representing the states of the union, (for a brief period in 1796, there were sixteen stars). On the back of the coin or the “reverse”, there is what is referred to as a small eagle, a somewhat emaciated bird that at first glance does not even appear to be an eagle. The eagle is surrounded by branches with a ribbon at the bottom of the coin. Just under the ribbon is marked the denomination of ½.

The aforementioned design was only in place from 1796 to 1797. All coins in the series had a lettered edge displaying the denomination of the coin with either “FIFTY CENTS” or “HALF A DOLLAR”. There are several variations in the series including the use of small and large numbers, over dates and over lettering as well as differences in the manner in which the eagle clutches branches. There were no coins dated from 1798 to 1800, however in 1801 and continuing through the remainder of the series in 1807, a major design change was made to the reverse of the coin. This change involved replacing the small eagle with a much more robust “heraldic” eagle with a shield on its chest. Additionally, the eagle has a ribbon displayed across its neck with the words, “e pluribus unum”. Thirteen stars were added above the eagle representing the thirteen original colonies.

Value

As some of our earliest coinage, Draped Bust half dollars are prized among collectors and are actually reasonably obtainable in lower grades. However, because so few were minted in the first two years of the series, these are quite expensive in any level of preservation. An almost good example, barely clear enough to identify the coin, can be worth well over $20,000. For the remainder of the series most coins range from between $250 and $800 in the lowest grades to the tens of thousands of dollars in high mint state. One particular variety, the 1806 with branch stem not going through the eagle’s talon, can reach $200,000 in extremely fine condition with none currently known to be in better grade. Mint state examples of some of the 1796 and 1797 coins have sold at auction for several hundred thousand to over one million dollars.

Because there are so many varied opinions on the condition (or grade) of a coin, the values mentioned reflect the highest retail prices that have been obtained for those coins that have been assessed by a third party grading company. Such coins have been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by expert coin grading companies to minimize any doubt as to their authenticity, quality and value and therefore their potential worth.

We Buy Draped Bust Half Dollars

We want to buy your coins and as a business it is our pledge to offer you the best value for your coins, however, always remember that the prices you may find online or in price guides usually represent the highest retail value for the coin in an already certified condition. As a trusted dealer we will have our coin specialists evaluate your coins at no cost and offer you a price that is both fair for you, but that also allows us to realize a reasonable profit.