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Obverse of 1796 Half Cent - Cohen 2     Reverse of 1796 Half Cent - Cohen 2


PCGS Nos: 1027, 1028

Very Scarce

Variety Equivalents:
Breen 2a, Breen 1519, Breen 1520

1796 Half Cents are known on planchets made from rolled copper strips or cut-down U.S. Large Cents, with the latter being extremely rare.

This was the only use of the obverse die.

The reverse die of this variety was also used on:
1796 Cohen 1

Most examples seen of this variety are in circulated condition, although a number of choice Mint State examples are known.  

The finest Brown example graded by PCGS is a single MS-63 Brown.

The finest Red-Brown examples graded by PCGS are 3 MS-66 Red-Browns.

No Red examples have been graded yet by PCGS.

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Significant examples:
MS-65 Red and Brown.  Ex - "Old English collection" - Sotheby's sale of the Gene Reale collection, January 1998, Lot 4 - John Whitney collection - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 23, "Br.2a...tied with two or three others for Finest Known honors.  Nearly 50% of the original mint red color...The surfaces appear hard and smooth with some microgranularity.  Perfect die states, showing the re-punching on '9' in the date...", plated, sold for $132,250.00

Recent appearances:
NGC MS-61 Brown.  Ex - Willis Dupont - Showers collection - offered on eBay (#2211021235) by John B. Hamrick & Co. with an opening bid of $122,200.00, a Buy-It-Now price of $126,900.00, and a closing date of December 21, 2003

PCGS AU-55 (illustrated above).  Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson II", February 18-19, 2002, Lot 32, illustrated

NGC AU-55.  Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7467, illustrated, unsold

PCGS AU-53.  Ex - Superior Galleries "Pre-Long Beach" Elite Coin Auction, May 25-27, 2003, Lot 119, sold for $63,250.00 Ex England 1965-Dick Bailey-Dr. Wallace Lee.  

PCGS VF-35.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale" May 27-29, 2001, Lot 1055, where it was described as follows:  "1796 C-2 R4 VF35. With Pole. Overstruck. Choice glossy chocolate and steel brown. No contact marks, spots, or other defects. The planchet shows some undertype of unknown origin on the reverse, clearest in the dentils and field over HALF. A close examination is recommended. A choice example of this key date in the half cent series, the undertype being a curious bonus. Weight 82.2 grains. Removed from a PCGS slab graded EF40 (lot includes the old green PCGS tag)."

PCGS VF-35.  Ex - Superior Galleries "Pre-Long Beach Coin Sale", May 27-29, 2001, Lot 1055, illustrated, not sold

"Very Fine-20".  Stack's 03/2004:3, $18,400.00

AG-3.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries "The Rarities Sale, Orlando", January 8, 2002, Lot 7, "B-2, C-2, Rarity-4. With Pole," illustrated, sold for $4,830.00

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"American Half Cents - The 'Little Half Sisters' (Second Edition)" by Roger S. Cohen, Jr.

"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia Of U.S. And Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

Relevant collector organizations:
Early American Coppers Club

 Obverse of 1796 Half Cent - Cohen 2     Reverse of 1796 Half Cent - Cohen 2

NGC MS-61 Brown
Images courtesy of John B. Hamrick & Co.

Obverse of 1796 Half Cent - Cohen 2    Reverse of 1796 Half Cent - Cohen 2

Images courtesy of Anthony Terranova