1797 DRAPED BUST H10C, 15 STARS, SMALL EAGLE MS65
15 STARS. LM-1. SOLE HIGHEST GRADED BY NGC.
1797 DRAPED BUST - TYPE 1 H10C
Having been elected the previous year in the first ever contested presidential election, President John Adams was inaugurated in 1797. Thomas Jefferson became Adams’ vice president after receiving the second largest number of electoral votes. It is interesting to note that this system of giving the vice presidency to the runner-up of the presidential election was only true of two elections. The policy was changed by the 12th Amendment after controversy arose surrounding the 1800 election cycle in which Aaron Burr received the same amount of votes as Thomas Jefferson and unsuccessfully challenged the decision of the House of Representatives to elect Jefferson. After the 12th Amendment was introduced, the electorate would cast separate votes for the president and vice president. This 1797 half dime is a remnant of the formative years for the democracy of the United States of America.
After utilizing Robert Scot's Flowing Hair design for just two years in 1794 and 1795, the early United States Mint switched to the designer's Draped Bust, Small Eagle type for the Half Dime in 1796. This type, as well, was limited to just two years of production: 1796 and 1797. No 1798 or 1799-dated Half Dimes were delivered, and the Draped Bust examples of 1800-1805 display the Heraldic Eagle reverse design in place of the Small Eagle motif. As a short-lived, early United States type, the Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime of 1796-1797 is an important coin that has long been a strong performer in the numismatic market.