1800 Draped Bust Half Dime. V-Unlisted (B-3 or V-3), LM-2, Breen-2975. Rarity-7+. Fine-12 (PCGS).
This is the discovery coin of the variety and the only example of this variety that PCGS has certified. The color is a mix of light gray to silver on the obverse, the reverse with matching hues but a bit mottled with a splash of lighter gray on the upper half of that side. A dull nick on Liberty's cheek caused uneven wear on the reverse, a bit behind the ribbon as well on the rim on the dentils. The surfaces are otherwise quite clean for an early half dime, with a few minor pin lines and scuffs, but Liberty's portrait is clean and complete. The 8 of the date is perfectly formed, the only variety with this feature as a broken 8 punch was used on the other two known obverse dies for that year. The first star is very far from the curl, stars four to six are very close, the seventh star is far from the L. For the reverse, the lower leaf is attached to the left serif of the final A, this die was used for the LM-1, LM-2 and LM-3 variety of the year before it broke and was retired. To date, there are just five known examples of this variety, this being the second finest seen. The Condition Census for the variety is AU-58 (NGC); F-12 (PCGS)—the present coin; Fine raw sold privately August 2009 for $8,643; VG raw terminal die state; VG raw surface problems.
Discovered by Walter Breen and reported in The Coin Collector's Journal in 1958, then sold in New Netherlands Straus sale of June 1959, Lot 438. A photo of the obverse of this coin was used for the Valentine reprint by Quarterman Publications in 1975. Despite considerable searching, this die variety remains one of the two rarest Draped Bust half dimes reported, tied with the 1801 LM-1 (V-3) with five known, most with problems. Remarkably the more recently discovered (Ed Price in 1994) 1800 LM-4 (V-4) has a total of 7 examples reported today and this trio represents the holy grail for variety collectors of this fascinating series.
Pedigree: From the Philip G. Straus Collection, New Netherlands #53, June 1959, Lot 438; unknown intermediaries; Jonathan Kern to Jules Reiver March 1989; Jules Reiver Collection, Heritage, January 2006, 2941; Jim Matthews Collection.