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Stunning AU50 1795 Half Eagle

1795 $5 Small Eagle AU50 PCGS. Breen-6412, B. 1-A, Miller-1, R.5. The U.S. Mint in Philadelphia began producing gold coins only in 1795, primarily because of the difficulty of obtaining $10,000 surety bonds each for the chief coiner and minter. The obverse die was used for the Miller-1, -2, and -3 varieties, with these diagnostics: The Y in LIBERTY and the two stars nearby are crowded together. In the evenly spaced date, the 1 lies just free of the hair curl; the 5 touches the drapery. The reverse die, only used for this variety, has three berries in the wreath, instead of the normal four. The last S in STATES is low and close to the wreath, whose opening is centered under the O. A leaf joins the U and extends slightly beyond its right upright.
Most half eagles and eagles of the time did not much circulate; rather, their chief uses were for interbank transfers and as payment of international debts to other countries. Indeed, many people undoubtedly went through their entire lives in the late 18th and early 19th centuries without ever seeing a genuine U.S. Mint gold coin! The buying power of the half eagle and eagle was tremendous. In 1818, a U.S. farm laborer earned an average of $9.45 per month. So it should not be surprising that this stunning coin shows abundant mint luster, more than 200 years after its manufacture. Although a few light obverse abrasions can be seen only under a loupe, none of them are visible otherwise. A single light scrape near the left side of the wreath is the only visible distraction on the reverse, although a loupe reveals a couple of light scrapes. The strike is well executed, save for the usual softness in the center that extends upward to the right side of the wreath. Certified in a green-label holder.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ND, PCGS# 8066)

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Auction Dates
June, 2006
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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