1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent. C-3a. Rarity-3. Low Head, Plain Edge. VF-30 (PCGS). Type: Type III: Liberty Cap, Head Right, Small Head.Design: Obv: A head of Liberty with flowing hair faces right, a liberty cap and pole behind. The word LIBERTY is inscribed along the upper border and the date 1797 is below. The portrait on Liberty Cap half cents dated 1795 to 1797 is noticeably smaller than for the Head Right issue of 1794, and it constitutes a distinct type. Rev: A wreath surrounds the denomination HALF CENT, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around the border and another expression of the denomination, 1/200, below. A ribbon knot with double bow binds the base of the wreath.Weight Standard: 84 grains (5.44 grams). Extant examples of this Cohen number vary widely in weight, Manleys sample revealing a range of 73 to 98 grains.Diameter: Approximately 23.5 mm.Die Variety: Cohen-3a, Breen-3c, Gilbert-2. Obv: Normal (i.e., not repunched) date with Libertys portrait placed low in the field. The point of the bust and end of the pole are very close to the border, the date seemingly crowded between the portrait and border. The digit 1 in the date is thick, and the letter Y in LIBERTY is repunched along its right side. This obverse also appears in the 1797 C-3b and 3c attributions. Rev: Single leaf at the top of each branch in the wreath, four berries on the left branch, three on the right branch; there is a berry on the left side of the bow, but not on the right side. The letters UN in UNITED are closely spaced, the letters ICA in AMERICA are widely spaced. There is a leaf point below the center of the letter E in AMERICA. This reverse also appears in the Cohen-3b and 3c attributions.Cohen-3a corresponds to the Low Head, Plain Edge <em>Guide Book</em> variety of the 1797 half cent.Die State: Manley 1.0. Obv: A light crack begins at Libertys chin, with a gentle bulge extending to the border at 3 oclock. Rev: An irregular crack extends from the border outside the E in UNITED, through that letter and the left wreath branch, into the field below the letter H in HALF.Edge: Plain.Mintage: The <em>Guide Book</em> provides a mintage of 127,840 coins for all varieties of the 1797-dated issue. These were delivered over an extended period of time:-Spring 1797: 107,048 coins-Spring 1799: 12,170 coins-April 29, 1800: 5,750 coins-May 16, 1800: 2,872 coinsBreen asserts that some of the 12,356 coins delivered on June 5, 1800, may also have been from 1797-dated dies, although this delivery is not included in the mintage estimated in the <em>Guide Book</em>.No half cents were struck from either 1798- or 1799-dated dies.Estimated Surviving Population for the Issue: 1,100 to 3,425 coins in all grades.Estimated Surviving Population for the Die Variety: Rarity-3: 200 to 600 coins in all grades.Strike: The obverse is drawn trivially to 12 oclock, the border denticulation uneven, yet complete on that side. The date, word LIBERTY and portrait are overall bold, and Libertys portrait has good hair definition. For the reverse we note scant denticulation along the upper right border due to a slightly off center strike, the devices bold apart from softness over and around the letters LF in HALF and T in CENT, this part of the design opposite the die break and bulge on the obverse.Surfaces: Warmly patinated in autumn-brown, a few swirls of flint gray are scattered about on both sides. The surfaces are hard and tight with no marks of consequence. Microscopic pitting on Libertys portrait and over the upper right reverse is noted, as are swirls of light carbon at the upper right obverse border and in the field below the letters EN in CENT. Remnants of edge denticulation from the spoiled large cent that provided the planchet stock for this coin is evident on the reverse, arcing from the border at the letters TE in STATES to the letter N in CENT. Overall smooth with a pleasing appearance for a mid grade Liberty Cap half cent.Commentary: All 1797 Low Head half cents were struck during the Spring of 1800 using spoiled large cents as planchet stock. As related above, traces of the undertype are evident on the reverse of the present example. The combined mintage for the 1797 C-3a, 3b and 3c attributions is at least 8,622 coins, comprised of the deliveries on April 29 (5,750 coins) and May 16 (2,872 coins), and perhaps a bit more if some of the 12,356 coins delivered on June 5 were also dated 1797.Cohen-3a is the Plain Edge variety of the 1797 Low Head half cent, almost all known examples of which are in low grades, often impaired. A single coin has been certified as Mint State by PCGS and NGC combined, the CC#1 Missouri Cabinet specimen in PCGS MS-63 BN that realized $172,500 in the Goldbergs January 2014 sale. This Choice Very Fine ranks among the finest that we have ever offered, a find for both advanced type collectors and half cent enthusiasts. From the ESM Collection.