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New book chronicles 1802 half dime

A new book by Jon P. Amato examines the rare 1802 half dime.


Despite its notoriety as a classic numismatic rarity, less is known about the 1802 half dime’s mintage and survival rate than that of many other rare American coins. Amato corrects this.

The new book, Numismatic Background and Census of 1802 Half Dimes: A Classic American Rarity is published by Ivy Press, 2017.

Amato documents the known examples of this issue, including their level of preservation, provenance and their prices realized at auction.

“Collectors seeking to acquire one of these coveted rarities will have some idea of how many pieces exist in the various grade levels, and how much they might expect to pay for a particular specimen when it appears on the market,” Amato said.

The 64-page book chronicles the lone die pair used to strike all known 1802 half dimes, as well as the number of coins known to be struck by the U.S. Mint.

Amato went back to auction records as early as 1859 to document the 167 appearances of this issue for the nearly 140-year period ending in 1998.

“This is an extremely elusive coin and I wanted this book to put the known specimens in context while also offering collectors images of the known specimens,” Amato said. “This book will appeal to all numismatic collectors who are curious about this classic rarity.”

The book is edited by James L. Halperin and Mark Van Winkle.

It can be purchased from Ivy Press for $29.95. Visit the website at for details.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2017 North American Coins & Prices guide.

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .