Early United States Half Dollars 1794-1836
This section covers the early lettered edge half dollars produced at the first and second Mints in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1794 through 1836.
Most of the information contained on this site was first presented in the first totally new book on the early half dollar series to be published since 1970 and was based on the earlier work of Haseltine, Beistle and Overton.
Early United States Half Dollars Vol. 1 / 1794-1807 is the first in a series of volumes covering the complete lettered edge series. This first volume was completed after over five years research, starting with a new clean sheet of paper and an open mind. The die marriages within this work have been reordered into their actual emission sequence (the order they were struck) and therefore a new numbering system was incorporated.
New theories and explanations concerning various aspects of this coinage are presented, as well as older theories and thinking are refuted or proven, using original Mint documentation and clues found on the coins themselves.
Robert Hilt collection
In April 2015 the half dollar collection of Robert P. Hilt II was sold. Hilt was a serious early die marriage collector and researcher, including that research in his book, Die Varieties of Early United States Coins (1980). Along with intriguing new theories, many of his coins were plated; including the obverse of what he claimed was the greatest discovery in the early half dollars series the still unique 1794 T-1 / O-109 die marriage. As Hilt was killed in a plane crash in 1995 and his family stated there were no coins in the estate, many collectors began to doubt that the marriage even existed...however all questions or doubts were put to rest when the coin sold in April for over $700,000!
An Example of the
1795 T-27 / O-132 Sells
In a September 2018 Heritage auction, one of only two known (and the only one now located), sold for the second time since its discovery in 2000. It was first sold in Goldberg's auction of the Benson Collection, Part I, where it was described in lot 1728. The lot realized $39,100. In this second sale, lot 3086, its rarity was still very clear and as rarity 8 (1-2 known), the value has increase in the almost 20 years to $66,000 dollars. Until such time as another example or the Beistle plate coin example reappears, only one collector desiring to complete their 1795 half dollars has a chance of making that happen...