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Choice 1809/8 Capped Bust Half Eagle
Popular, Mysterious Overdate Issue, BD-1
Spectacular Eye Appeal

1809/8 $5 MS64 PCGS. Breen-6458, BD-1, High R.3. According to Mint records, 33,875 half eagles were struck in 1809, with a single die variety known for the date. The 1809/8 is elusive enough to enjoy the prestige of a rare coin, although not seen so rarely as to be forgotten by nonspecialists. Experts estimate a surviving population of 250-325 examples in all grades, and Choice Mint State specimens are definitely rare.
Although the issue is traditionally listed as an 1809/8, recent research has cast some doubt about its overdate status. Numismatists agree the final digit of the date is struck over something, but Harry Bass and John Dannreuther believe the undertype might be an erroneously placed 9. Actually, the remnants of the underdigit do not seem to fit either numeral punch exactly, so definitive identification remains elusive. Another mystery is the size of the final 9. The numeral punch used to overstrike the final 8 (or 9) is much larger than the other digits in the date, and is a better match for the numerals in the Large Date varieties of 1810. Whatever the explanation for these curious anomalies, the issue continues to be regarded as a popular overdate.
The present coin is a spectacular Choice example, with vibrant mint luster and stunning eye appeal. The light greenish-gold surfaces are highlighted with subtle hints of rose. The striking details are extraordinary for an early gold issue, with all star centers sharp and exquisite detail present on Liberty's curls and the eagle's neck. The coin is housed in an old green label holder. Population: 24 in 64, 4 finer (6/10).(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 2Y7R, PCGS# 8104)

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Auction Dates
August, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
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