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Possibly the Finest 1838-D Half Eagle
McCloskey 1-A, MS63

1838-D $5 MS63 PCGS. McCloskey 1-A, R.3. Following enabling legislation in 1835, the Dahlonega Mint opened its doors in 1838, as did the branch mints at Charlotte and New Orleans. With Charlotte and Dahlonega handling gold discoveries in Georgia and the Carolinas, the New Orleans Mint converted precious metal from Central and South America into coin. The timing was excellent, as just a decade later the California gold discovery ensured that the mints would be operating full time.
Construction of the Dahlonega Mint was successful despite some difficulties. In Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint: 1838-1861, Doug Winter relates: "Partly because of the remote location, as well as the lack of good building materials, skilled workmen or aggressive oversight by Commissioner Few, the construction of the branch mint edifice languished."
The 1838-D half eagle was the first issue of the new Dahlonega Mint, with the first pieces struck on April 21 of that year. Total mintage for the year was 20,583 coins, and survivors are usually found in VF to AU grades, with full Mint State pieces being extremely rare. The present piece is tied for the finest that NGC and PCGS have certified.
This Select Mint State piece is an exceptional example and might be the single finest survivor of the issue. It is fully struck with satiny yellow surfaces and green and orange overtones on both sides. The surfaces are exceptional with only a few trivial surface marks. Over the years, we have handled four MS63 examples of the date, with this piece being the fifth, but the first in a PCGS holder. Population: 2 in 63, 0 finer (11/10).
From The Milford Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 25S6, PCGS# 8178)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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