1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar

In 1796, the U.S. half dollar was switched from the Flowing Hair to the Draped Bust theme. The small eagle reverse was carried for only two years, 1796 and 1797. Half dollar production was halted until 1801, when the Draped Bust was revived, but had a large eagle reverse.

With a mintage of only 3,918 pieces, the Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar has the fourth lowest mintage of all U.S. coin types. No more than 250 are believed to exist today. Accordingly, it rates near the top in value, regardless of condition.

Whenever a genuine example is put up for sale, collectors with fat checkbooks are prepared to compete fiercely to secure one of numismatica’s greatest prizes.

The 1796 comes in the 15 star and 16 star varieties. Both rate nearly the same in value. The 16th star was added to note Tennessee’s admission to the Union on June 1, 1796.

The idea of adding a star for every new state was dropped when it became clear there would eventually be too many stars to fit on the nation’s coinage.

Interestingly, all Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollars were minted in 1797. The demand was generated soley by the Bank of the United States, which deposited the silver and requested half dollars in return.





1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar

1796 Draped Bust Half Dollar
Coin Photos courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries






1796 Half Dollar Value Trend Chart

1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Sm Eagle Half Dollar (G-4 Condition)

The blue line above charts the percent increase since Year 2000 of the 1796 Draped Bust Half Dollar with 16 stars in G-4 condition. As you can see, the performance of the 1796 half dollar closely parallels the Rare Coin Values Index (red line) which tracks the combined percent change over the same time period of a pre-selected group of 87 rare US coins. The goal of the Index is to monitor the strength and direction of the overall rare US coin market. The Index is updated monthly.


 

Members of the Rare Coin Values Index
Date Coin Type Grade Est. Retail Value Jul 2017
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent G-4 3850
1802 2/0 Rev 1802 Draped Bust Half Cent G-4 1000
1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Large Cent G-4 10000
1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent G-4 35000
1799 Draped Bust Large Cent G-4 4500
1856 Flying Eagle Cent G-4 6500
1877 Indian Head Cent G-4 600
1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent G-4 600
1914-D Lincoln Cent G-4 170
1922-D (No D) Lincoln Cent G-4 550
1864 Small Motto Two Cent F-12 400
1865 Three Cent Silver PF-65 1750
1884 Three Cent Nickel F-12 650
1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime G-4 1400
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1800 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Half Dime G-4 1100
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dime G-4 300
1879 Shield Nickel VG-8 550
1885 Liberty Nickel VG-8 675
1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel G-4 325
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel G-4 875
1937-D 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel G-4 475
1796 Draped Bust Dime G-4 2750
1822 Capped Bust Dime G-4 2000
1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime G-4 3250
1895-O Barber Dime G-4 375
1916-D Mercury Dime VG-8 1400
1942/1-D Mercury Dime VG-8 425
1875-CC Twenty Cent G-4 350
1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter G-4 12500
1804 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Quarter G-4 4000
1823 Capped Bust Quarter G-4 40000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Quarter G-4 10000
1896-S Barber Quarter G-4 725
1901-S Barber Quarter G-4 4750
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 2900
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 1150
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 300
1932-D Washington Quarter F-12 130
1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar G-4 6000
1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar G-4 40000
1815/12 Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1750
1836 Reed Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Half Dollar G-4 900
1892-O Barber Half Dollar G-4 327
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 375
1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 75
1953-S Franklin Half Dollar MS-65 FBL 20000
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar G-4 65000
1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1750
1801 Draped Bust Large Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1000
1836 Gobrecht Dollar, Name on Base, Circ. Issue XF-40 12500
1873-CC Seated Liberty Dollar G-4 7500
1879 Trade Dollar PF-65 8500
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 800
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 4000
1895 Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 (PF Only) 35000
1928 Peace Dollar F-12 275
1849-C Cl. Wreath Type One Gold Dollar VF-20 1300
1855-D Type Two Gold Dollar VF-20 9900
1861-D Type Three Gold Dollar VF-20 18500
1796 No Stars Capped Bust $ 2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 52500
1808 Capped Draped Bust $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 23500
1826 Capped Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 9500
1838-C Classic Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 2500
1848 CAL. Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 25000
1856-D Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 4750
1911-D Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle XF-40 4000
1854-D Indian Head Three Dollar F-12 9500
1795 Capped Bust Small Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 20000
1800 Capped Bust Large Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 4250
1808 Capped Draped Bust $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 3500
1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1833 Large Date Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 16000
1834 Cross 4 Classic Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 1300
1861-D Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1870-CC Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 13500
1909-O Indian Head $5.00 Half Eagle XF-40 7500
1795 9 Leaves Capped Bust Small Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 55750
1804 Capped Bust Large Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 20000
1841-O Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 2850
1879-CC Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 9700
1911-D Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 2250
1930-S Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 20750
1859-O Coronet $20 Double Eagle VF-20 5750
1907 Wire Rim St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 12000
1921 St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 45000


See the 87 Index Coins