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Description

Important 1834 Crosslet 4
Capped Head Half Eagle, BD-2, AU55

1834 $5 Capped Head, Crosslet 4 AU55 NGC. Breen-6500, BD-2, R.5. BD Obverse State b/Reverse State b. The year 1834 saw the last issue of the "old tenor" gold coins in the United States. For most pre-1834 issues, only a tiny percentage of the production escaped the melting pot. In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, John Dannreuther estimates that only 45-50 specimens of the BD-2 variety are extant from an original mintage of 50,141 pieces. Dannreuther also pointed out that every issue in the Capped Head, With Motto, Small Size design type, which was only minted from 1829 to 1834, is very rare.
Because of the extreme rarity of the type as a whole, the BD-2 is one of the more available issues of the design. Type collectors add to the vigorous competition whenever a specimen is offered. Collectors recognized the rarity of the older coins early on, and pursued any available specimen ardently. One early appearance was in the Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (Woodward, 10/1864), lot 1657. Woodward's description reads, "1834 The old type, with motto, from a different die, there being a cross on the bar of the figure 4 in the date; this is the rarest of the two varieties." The lot sold to J.O. Emery for $15. The issue has enjoyed increasing popularity, down to the present day.
The variety is characterized by the crosslet 4 in the date and the unfinished lowest curl (the other Crosslet 4 die, used on the unique BD-4 1834 Motto, Crosslet 4, has the lowest curl complete). The date is equally spaced between the rim and the bottom of the bust. On the reverse 5D is also centered in the field, with the flag-tip of the 5 pointing to the feather tip on the fletchings. Much luster still resides on this Choice AU piece, more prominently around the obverse star points where the light circulation has not dimmed the luster. The surfaces are greenish-gold and thoroughly appealing, and while there are light signs of contact consistent with a short spate in commerce, there are no singular abrasions.
The die state is an intermediate one, as the obverse die crack extending from star 8 to 13 as Bass-Dannreuther describes is present, but not that from the rim to cap "grazing" star 6. There is a small rim bump at 4 o'clock on the obverse (just below star 13), and a small patch of light scrapes appears in the obverse field, just across from Liberty's forelock, along with a small nick on the nose. The reverse shows the characteristic circular die crack from MERICA down through 5D.
Historical significance, absolute rarity, and type demand create spirited bidding whenever this coin is offered. Census: 2 in 55, 6 finer (9/08).(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 25RP, PCGS# 8161)

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Auction Dates
October, 2008
23rd-25th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 562

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