1796 No Pole half cent valued at up to $1.2m

A rare 1796 No Pole half cent is the star lot of an auction of coins from the D Brent Pogue collection at Stack's Bowers in New York on February 9.

The coin is valued at $750,000-1.2m.

Liberty half cent
The 1796 No Pole half cent is the finest known specimen

It's undoubtedly the rarest and most sought after US half cent available on the market, with only 26 surviving specimens across a range of grades.

It's named for the image of Liberty on the obverse, who is shown with her pileus but without the pole holding it up.

A large crack bisects the middle - the chief reason the issue was binned.

Liberty half cent
Only 26 examples are known to exist

In 1996 it sold for $506,000, then a world record for any coin. It's rare reappearance will make this one of the most important sales of the year.

The auction house comments: "The ultimate example of the ultimate half cent, this was the first example of the smallest American denomination to sell at auction for over a half million dollars.

"Sold in 1996 after 50 years spent in the Eliasberg Collection, this is its first public offering since and only its third since 1912…

"A connoisseur's ultimate prize among coins of this denomination, the D. Brent Pogue 1796 No Pole half cent has been legendary longer than anyone who will read these words has been alive."

An 1808 quarter eagle from the D Brent Pogue collection sold for a record $2.3m last year.

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