1796 started very badly. The No Pole die is broken, creating a diametral line throughout the obverse of the coins. The incident probably happened before launching the production as all the 1796 No Pole have this scar which is very visible in the cheek and interrupted in the center by the recess of the hair. These coins were released for circulation but the event marked the end of the No Pole dies.
This unwanted line had been generated at the Mint and is considered authentic by numismatists. Even better: the sharpness of the scar enables to identify the first pieces from that production.
The 1796 No Pole from the Missouri Cabinet collection, graded MS65 Brown by PCGS, was sold for $ 890K including premium by Goldberg on January 26, 2014.
The Eliasberg specimen graded MS67 RB (Red Brown) by PCGS is the best 1796 No Pole. Its sale for $ 506K by Bowers and Merena in May 1996 was acclaimed as outstanding in its class. It is estimated $ 750K for sale by Stack's Bowers (successor to Bowers and Merena) in association with Sotheby's in New York on February 9, lot 3008.
The next lot, 3009, is a 1796 With Pole MS66 RB PCGS estimated $ 500K. It can be compared with the Missouri Cabinet specimen graded MS65+ RB by PCGS, sold for $ 720K including premium by Goldberg.
The presence of red is important because it is an indication of the low oxidation of the metal. The Eliasberg 1796 No Pole half cent still has in some tiny places the lighter red of the original copper. In addition to the rarity of its variety, it is one of the best preserved among all US copper coins of that period.
In the Goldberg sale already twice referred above, a superb half cent MS66 Red Brown PCGS on the date of 1811 was sold for $ 1,12M including premium over an estimate of $ 200K.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM
No pole : $ 760K
With pole : $ 470K