1797 Gripped Edge Liberty Cap Half Cent

The 1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent “Gripped Edge” is a very rare variety with less than a dozen pieces known to exist. All of the known examples are found in lower grades.

The gripped edge appears as a plain edge at first, but has a number of small indentations and parts of raised metal spaced on the edge. Listed in the Red Book as a major variety, this coin is so rare that it only appears on the market every ten to fifteen years.

Most examples are still raw, as the holder of some certification companies will hide the most important detail, the edge. Great care must taken when buying an uncertified example of this classic rarity. Fakes and alterations are sometimes seen, and much knowledge of the series and characteristics of this issue are needed to recognize a genuine example.