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Lot
2179

1824 $5 AU58 PCGS. B. 1-A, Miller-147, R.7. The Capped ...

2004 Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Sale #336

 
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Auction Ended On: Jan 7, 2004
Item Activity: 4 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Orlando, FL
Description:
Very Rare 1824 Capped Head Left Half Eagle, AU58 PCGS
1824 $5 AU58 PCGS. B. 1-A, Miller-147, R.7. The Capped Head Left half eagle series is by far the most challenging to collect in the entire United States coinage family. In the early 1830s, vast quantities of silver poured from newly established mines in Mexico and Peru. Having the opposite effect of the California Gold Rush of the 1840s-1850s, this Latin American event forced a dramatic decline in the price of silver and gold coins imported from that area. As myriad Mexican silver dollars flooded into the United States, hoarders inadvertently marked the American circulating gold coins for extinction. This passage, taken from Walter Breen's Encyclopedia, provides a glimpse of the disaster that befell the Half Eagle: "In the National Archives is a reference to public assays (Paris, 1831), at one of which some 40,000 U. S. half eagles of 'recent mintage' (the elusive 1815-30) were melted and found to be of full weight and fineness. This was doubtless only one among many such holocausts, and more were to come through 1837."
This issue is sometimes regarded as relatively common, however it is much rarer than believed. Probably, just over 30 examples are known today. Walter Breen speculated that fewer than twenty 1824 Half Eagles survived in all grades. Miller suggests that fewer than a dozen are known. The Harry Bass collection contained only one example.
This near-mint, barely circulated example should capture the attention of all serious gold collectors. The surfaces radiate a bright yellow-gold hue and are free of major impairments. Ample, almost full mint luster remains on both sides and we report sharp detail overall, with no mentionable weakness, even on the star centrils or the eagle's neck. For future pedigree purposes, a diagonal pinscratch is visible in the reverse field over the eagle's neck and just below the US of PLURIBUS. A rare, highly elusive opportunity for the early gold specialist. (#8132) (Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 25PZ, PCGS# 8132)

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