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1809/8 $5 MS64 NGC. Breen-6458, BD-1, High R.3....

2010 December Houston Signature US Coin Auction #1147

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Auction Ended On: Dec 3, 2010
Item Activity: 9 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, TX 77010
Choice 1809/8 Half Eagle
BD-1, Only Known Variety
Popular Scarce Date
1809/8 $5 MS64 NGC. Breen-6458, BD-1, High R.3. A relatively small mintage of 33,875 half eagles was achieved in 1809, with a single die variety known for the date. The 1809/8 is a representative of the Capped Bust Left, Large Bust design, which was used from 1807-1812. Considered as a date, the 1809/8 is the rarest issue of the design type, although other years have individual varieties that are much more elusive. John Dannreuther estimates a surviving population of 250-325 examples in all grades, and the issue is quite rare in Choice Mint State condition.
Traditionally, the half eagles minted in 1809 have been classed as overdates, but many experts question whether the undertype of the final digit is an 8 or just a misplaced 9. The remains of some figure is easily noticed under the 9, but the visible curve does not seem to match either the 8 or 9 punch used on this die. Dannreuther points out the final 9 is actually from a larger punch than the other digits in the date. The undertype may be a smaller 9, placed slightly out of position. The die may have been repunched with the larger 9 to correct the alignment of the final numeral.
The present coin is a delightful Choice Mint State specimen, with light greenish-gold surfaces that show no significant distractions. A doubled center dot is noted under Liberty's ear, and the reverse shows numerous clashmarks, especially in the field above the eagle's wings. This example is sharply struck, with fine detail present on Liberty's hair and all star centers boldly defined. The surfaces are brightly lustrous, and eye appeal is outstanding. Currently, NGC has certified 29 coins in MS64, with nine examples finer (10/10).(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 25PC, PCGS# 8104)

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