The 1802 Draped Bust Half Dime (Buy on eBay) has long been recognized as a prized rarity within American numismatics. The issue had a scant mintage of just 3,060 pieces, of which only 35 pieces are estimated to have survived. All surviving specimens are found in circulated grades, with not a single example known or even rumored to exist in uncirculated condition.
The rarity of the 1802 Half Dime was widely recognized once the hobby of coin collecting began to gain popularity in the 1850’s. The stature of the issue was assured in 1863 when a circulated example sold for a higher price than the finest known 1794 silver dollar. The issue was considered the “king” of the half dime denomination until the later discovery of the 1870-S Half Dime.
Most examples of the 1802 Half Dime are graded Very Good or lower, with many cleaned, bent, or otherwise damaged. The finest examples are graded About Uncirculated and very seldom available on the market. An example graded NGC AU50 realized a price of $212,750 at auction. On the other end of the spectrum, some examples that have been damaged, plugged, or bent have sold for $10,000 or more.