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1797 Half Dime - the Lady and the Eagle got a valuable makeover

The John Reich Collectors Society (JRCS) will soon publish for its members the 2023 half dime census (early half dimes as well as capped bust). I'm privileged to be assisting @Barndog in this endeavor. So I've been following some rabbit trails lately. Here's a story I thought folks would find interesting.

This first pair of images is of a 1797 LM-4 in NGC AU Details - improperly cleaned. It was offered at Stacks as lot 2642 on 9/16/2011. It had a reserve of $9300 and it was passed.

This next pair of images shows a beautifully toned NGC AU55. Offered at Stacks as lot 11288 on 8/7/2012 (326 days after the earlier auction), it sold for $25,850. Not the same coin, you say? Take a look at the "chicken tracks" from L to the hair ribbon on the obverse, and note the ding under the eagle's left (dexter) wing. A gorgeous makeover yields significant profits!

New website: Groovycoins.com Capped Bust Half Dime registry set: Bikergeek CBHD LM Set

Comments

  • BarndogBarndog Posts: 20,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    remarkable, isn't it?

  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,425 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is noticeably less sharp detail on the second set of pics. Looks like maybe it was lightly whizzed then retoned. Either that or they are 2 different coins that are counterfeit because all the hits and dings match up. I think heavily doctored then reslabbed.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • Pnies20Pnies20 Posts: 2,058 ✭✭✭✭✭

    🤷🏼‍♂️

    BHNC #248 … 108 and counting.

  • BikergeekBikergeek Posts: 206 ✭✭✭✭

    What I didn't add to the original post (cuz it felt like "piling on") was that it sold again in February 2013, this time at Heritage, for the same high amount. https://coins.ha.com/itm/early-half-dimes/half-dimes/1797-h10c-13-stars-au55-ngc-v-1-lm-4-r5-pcgs-4260-/a/1182-3748.s?ic4=ListView-ShortDescription-071515-new

    New website: Groovycoins.com Capped Bust Half Dime registry set: Bikergeek CBHD LM Set

  • kazkaz Posts: 9,065 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow.

  • edwardjulioedwardjulio Posts: 1,029 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sad commentary on the "hobby".

    End Systemic Elitism - It Takes All Of Us

  • rheddenrhedden Posts: 6,615 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is one of the most impressive coin doctor screw-jobs I've seen. Someone really scored, and it wasn't the buyer. Learning to recognize early Type coins with 100% original gray dirt, replete with little black and brown specks of ancient gunk sitting on top of the patina, can be rewarding. It's much more difficult to fake that look compared to faking secondary "album toning."

  • DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,532 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • CladiatorCladiator Posts: 17,919 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice detective work. I wonder where she lives now.

  • I'm not sure where that coin resides but I can tell you I'm glad it's not with me. Some people have the money to spend on these "prized" coins but are terrified to get this heavily involved for fear of this occurring. I can handle losing a few hundred dollars learning from my mistakes. But this would keep me awake for days and totally turn me off for good.
    I suppose that's why it's worth it to pay a well qualified and respected rep for auctions and purchases of this caliber. Right now I'm having fun. That their, that's no fun.
    If the current owner sees this thread he will throw up.

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,479 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 26, 2023 8:05AM

    The coin has obviously been "fixed," and the color is not what I would call "natural."

    The 13 star obverse 1797 half dime is a very tough coin. I bought mine many years ago when the variety did not care much of a premium. As I remember it, this variety only shows up two or three times a year in the major auctions.

    Here is mine, which has nowhere near the sharpness of the piece in the OP. My grade for this is VF-25, but NGC called it a 35.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • Pnies20Pnies20 Posts: 2,058 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Question - Is it possible the person that bought it, knows it’s the same coin?

    It’s very possible someone looking for a particular coin would have seen it both times and believed it to be more market acceptable and willing to own it.

    BHNC #248 … 108 and counting.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Looks as if expert effort was duly compensated. ;) Cheers, RickO

  • oih82w8oih82w8 Posts: 11,892 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What is the possibility that it is also a fake NGC slab?

    oih82w8 = Oh I Hate To Wait _defectus patientia_aka...Dr. Defecto - Curator of RMO's

    BST transactions: dbldie55, jayPem, 78saen, UltraHighRelief, nibanny, liefgold, FallGuy, lkeigwin, mbogoman, Sandman70gt, keets, joeykoins, ianrussell (@GC), EagleEye, ThePennyLady, GRANDAM, Ilikecolor, Gluggo, okiedude, Voyageur, LJenkins11, fastfreddie, ms70, pursuitofliberty, ZoidMeister,Coin Finder, GotTheBug, edwardjulio, Coinnmore...
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,479 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @oih82w8 said:
    What is the possibility that it is also a fake NGC slab?

    Probably not. The guys who create fake slabs usually put fake coins in them. Stacks' also handled the sale, and chances are a fake slab would not get passed their catalogers.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,479 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You can see that sort of color on early coins. It's not original, but sometimes they retone that way.

    To me the color, especially on the obverse is too bright. But maybe that is just me or the photograph, which many have been enhanced.

    The TPGs can be forgiving about colon on these early coins. For example this piece was in a "no problem" slab when I owned it. Collectors often "get lucky" with some coins. I have never been very lucky with 1796 half dimes. I've a owned several of them and never gotten "the right one."

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • telephoto1telephoto1 Posts: 4,740 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Slab is real. This is a case of an unknowledgeable buyer who bought the holder and not the coin...and they won't be happy if/when they ever try to sell this and the deception comes to light.


    RIP Mom- 1932-2012
  • VasantiVasanti Posts: 448 ✭✭✭✭

    What is NGC’s liability for something like this? Buyback?

  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 30,497 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 26, 2023 12:10PM

    @Bikergeek said:
    What I didn't add to the original post (cuz it felt like "piling on") was that it sold again in February 2013, this time at Heritage, for the same high amount. https://coins.ha.com/itm/early-half-dimes/half-dimes/1797-h10c-13-stars-au55-ngc-v-1-lm-4-r5-pcgs-4260-/a/1182-3748.s?ic4=ListView-ShortDescription-071515-new

    Looks way more AT... Oops Secondarily Toned in the HA large cartoon pics. ;)


    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • telephoto1telephoto1 Posts: 4,740 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Weird that it sold for the exact same amount, to the penny, a year later... does anyone think it might be a case of the owner finding out the truth, then consigning to HA set with the same price he paid as a reserve... and some other poor schlub bailed him out of his mistake?


    RIP Mom- 1932-2012
  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 30,497 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @telephoto1 said:
    Weird that it sold for the exact same amount, to the penny, a year later... does anyone think it might be a case of the owner finding out the truth, then consigning to HA set with the same price he paid as a reserve... and some other poor schlub bailed him out of his mistake?

    Yep, sounds like the olé Hot Potato game.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • fathomfathom Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This happens more than we think.

    Eye appeal sells to graders, buyers, auction houses, dealers, name the tier.

  • BikergeekBikergeek Posts: 206 ✭✭✭✭

    @Broadstruck said:

    Looks way more AT... Oops Secondarily Toned in the HA large cartoon pics. ;)

    "Secondary High Intensity Toning.

    Better living through chemistry!

    New website: Groovycoins.com Capped Bust Half Dime registry set: Bikergeek CBHD LM Set

  • TheRegulatorTheRegulator Posts: 1,216 ✭✭✭

    If you had posted the second set of pics first, you likely would have had plenty of "ooohs" and "aaahs." Lots of collectors either don't know or don't care.

    I really wish the TPGs wouldn't straight grade this stuff.

    The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. -Thomas Jefferson
  • Mr_SpudMr_Spud Posts: 4,435 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow, great detective work in spotting that.

    Mr_Spud

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