Congratulations on a Milestone Achievement

Posted on September 8, 2011 by

1797 Gripped Edge

Congratulations to the owner of the ESM Collection, who just become the first person to complete a PCGS Registry Set of United States Half Cents by Major Variety.  He attained this goal with his purchase of the 1797 Gripped Edge Half Cent (graded PCGS Good-6) at the recent Goldberg Coins and Collectibles sale of the Davy Collection – Part II.  Miller’s Gripped Edge Half Cent is ranked third in the Condition Census, but it is the only one certified by PCGS thus far, making it the only possible option for anyone working on a PCGS Registry Set.  Understandably, competition for this particular coin during the auction became intense.  Against a pre-sale estimate of $30,000, the coin sold for $195,500.

From the PCGS CoinFacts website: “The 1797 Gripped Edge Half Cent is an extremely rare variety, with just over a dozen known, most of which are in low grade.  The dies used to strike the Gripped Edge are the same used on the 1797 Low Head (Cohen 3a) and 1797 Lettered Edge (Cohen 3b) Half Cents.  Ron Manley thinks the Gripped Edge Half Cents were struck later than the Lettered Edge Half Cents, but later than the Low Heads.  The “gripping” consists of what appear to be a series of irregular indentations on the edge of the coin.  The purpose of the gripping is unknown, but it is similar to experimental “gripped” edges on 1797 Large Cents.  According to Roger Cohen (1981), the first appearance of a 1797 Gripped Edge Half Cent was in the 1907 sale of the Matthew Stickney Collection.  Today, this variety ranks as one of the rarest and most desirable of all Half Cent varieties.”

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