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1811 Capped Bust Left Half Eagle, MS64
Small 5 Variety, BD-2
Remarkable Mint Luster

1811 $5 Small 5 MS64 PCGS. CAC. Breen-6464, BD-2, R.3. The 1811 Capped Bust Left half eagle is an available, popular issue, in the context of early half eagles. In their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth indicate a surprising number of Mint State 1811 half eagles have appeared in auction catalogs over the years, but most examples seen were MS63 or lower. In MS64 the issue is decidedly rare. Including unreported resubmissions and crossovers, NGC has certified 13 coins in MS64, with six finer; while PCGS has graded 13 coins at the Choice level, with none finer (11/09).
As a date, 1811 half eagles have always been popular with numismatists, appearing at public auction as early as the A.C. Kline Sale (Moses Thomas & Sons, 6/1855), lot 185. Of course, little notice was taken of die varieties in 1855, but sophisticated numismatists began to notice the different size of the numeral in the denomination at a fairly early date. By the early 20th century, catalogers were making a clear distinction between the Small 5 and Tall 5 varieties. In the George Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2377 reads, "1811 Small 5. Extremely fine. Mint lustre. Plate."
The present coin radiates bright mint luster, remarkable on an early five. The mint frost on the devices is thick and intense. The bright yellow-gold surfaces show occasional hints of pale rose and lilac, mostly over the devices. Recessed areas in front and behind Liberty's head show bright, semi-reflective surfaces. A few scattered marks are noted, but these are largely masked by the thick luster and have the appearance of luster grazes. There is a short grease stain (as struck) below RI. Overall visual appeal is outstanding.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# BFXS, PCGS# 8109)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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