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Important Near-Gem 1814/3 Half Eagle

1814/3 $5 MS64 NGC. Breen-6468, BD-1, High R.4. The only dies for the date. A late die state with prominent clash marks from the shield near Liberty's ear. The letters ERT in LIBERTY are indistinctly present within the shield. A couple of letters from PLURIBUS are also apparent above the date. The lower curve of the 3 is still faintly visible near the lower half of the 4, although a glass is required to recognize this feature. The obverse die was used only for the 1814/3 BD-1, although the reverse die also used struck the scarce 1813 BD-2 and the rare 1815 BD-1. The most interesting feature of the reverse die is the D in the denomination, which is clearly repunched.
As is the case with the other Capped Head Left half eagle dates, the mintage for the 1814/3 gives little indication of its rarity. A figure of 15,454 pieces is reported, but most of these were promptly exported to foreign shores and then melted. Most certified survivors are in AU58 to MS62 grades, although resubmissions over the past 20 years have probably distorted the population data.
The present piece is a lustrous near-Gem with beautiful and original olive-gold toning. The strike is exacting, since only the claws and the highpoints of the curls exhibit slight blending of detail. The surfaces are remarkably smooth overall, and the piece would likely be the sole certified MS65 representative were it not for a brief, hair-thin mark from the rim to the left inner point of star 7, and a fainter thin mark from star 8 to Liberty's cap. The finest example of the issue is probably the Bass specimen, currently housed in the library of the American Numismatic Association. As of (2/07), the combined forces of NGC and PCGS have certified 10 pieces as MS64 with none finer.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# BFXT, PCGS# 8117)

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Auction Dates
March, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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