Rare First Year 16 Stars 1796 Half Dollar 

By: Mobin

1796 marked the first year half dollars were struck, inaugurating this denomination into US coinage.  

 Inaugural Issue  

The design featuring Miss Liberty came from the hand of early Mint engraver Robert Scot, which saw revisions in subsequent years.   

Engraver Robert Scot

Records did not survive documenting the exact original mintage, but it was certainly small numbering under 3,000 pieces.   

Mintage Mystery 

Early die varieties exist with either 15 or 16 stars representing states on the famous Flowing Hair half dollar's obverse.  

16 Star Variety

An estimated 125-150 examples survive across all die varieties, making the 1796 halves extremely rare in all forms.


As the first half dollar, date and stars variety collecting adds an extra dimension for series specialists.  

Cherrypick Variety

In any grade, the 16 stars 1796 Draped Bust half realizes over $100,000, stretching well into the millions for top graded gems.


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