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Obverse of 1797 Half Dime - Valentine 4     Reverse of 1797 Half Dime - Valentine 4


PCGS Nos: 4258, 4259, and 4260

Circulation strikes:
Proofs: None

Designer: Robert Scot
(based on a design by Gilbert Stuart)

Diameter: 16.5 millimeters

Metal content:
Silver - 89.2%
Copper - 10.8%

Weight: 21 grains (1.3 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: None (all examples of this date and type were struck at the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mint)

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Varieties (4):
Valentine 1 - 13 Obverse Stars - Very Rare
Valentine 2 - 15 Obverse Stars - Scarce
Valentine 3 - 16 Obverse Stars - Rare
Valentine 4 - 16 Obverse Stars - Very Scarce

Recent appearances:
PCGS AU-55, struck on a defective planchet (illustrated above).  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 3003, where it was described as follows: "Struck on Defective Planchet. The planchet cracked from the rim to the field before Liberty's eye as shown in the photograph. Dark toned to a deep antique silver shade. Well struck from moderately clashed dies.  The order of types in 1797 is chronologically 15 stars, then 16, finally 13. This is only logical; the 15-star dies were left over from fall 1795, with final digit omitted, as was then common practice. The 16-star die, like its counterparts in all other silver and gold denominations, was made in 1796 upon Tennessee's admission as the sixteenth state (June 1). The permanent shift to 13 stars followed Mint Director Elias Boudinot's realizing that the Mint could not go on indefinitely adding new stars as new states entered the Union.  Date punches on the 15-star die (like those on the 1796s) are those used on the last varieties of 1795. This is the least rare variety of 1797, and the die continued in use long after breakage and clashing marred it."

Fine-12 Obverse Scratches.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5213, "16 Stars.  V-4, LM-2, R-4", not illustrated, sold for $977.50

Fair to About Good.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 414, "Logan-
McCloskey 4, Valentine 1 (R-6)", not plated, sold for $546.25

Net Good-6, sharpness of VF-20.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1461, "Valentine-1, LM-4", sold for $632.50

The finest "15 Stars" example graded by PCGS is a single MS-67.

The finest "16 Stars" example graded by PCGS is a single MS-66.

The finest "13 Stars" example graded by PCGS is a single MS-63.

Sources and/or recommended reading:

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

"Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837" by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey