The 1795 Flowing Hair half dime is one of the earliest silver coins, coming to the fore only one year after the half dime was first officially struck for mass distribution in 1794 and three years after pattern half dismes were produced in 1792 during the first year of operation for the United States Mint in Philadelphia. Early federal coinage is rare regardless of date or condition, but it becomes increasingly challenging up the grading scale.
Most 1795 Flowing Hair half dimes are encountered in the lowest circulated grades, and this coin -- like so many from the period -- are considered collectibles in grades below Good-4, and collectors will even pay big bucks for specimens that are holed, bent, or otherwise damaged. Few are known in uncirculated grades, and those that are take huge prices -- well into the five figures or more.
One of the nicest 1795 Flowing Hair half dimes ever known recently crossed the block at Stack's Bowers Galleries. This particular specimen was graded MS67 by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and is one of just two known at that level in a PCGS holder. A coin of that age, in that condition, is indicative of a piece that was set aside and handled with great care since rolling off the press. Indeed, it stirred bidders to their proverbial feet when crossing the floor in December 2020, and the final bid for the coin was hammered at a whopping $120,000.
*Images are courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries.