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Rarity-5 1834 Capped Head, Crosslet 4
Five Dollar, BD-2, MS62

1834 $5 Capped Head, Crosslet 4 MS62 NGC. Breen-6500, BD-2, R.5. BD Obverse State a/b, Reverse State b. The 1 in the date is tall, the 4 is of the Crosslet style, and the lowest curl of Liberty's hair ends in a distinct point. These coins are quite elusive and must not be confused with the Classic Head fives, which are also found in the Plain and Crosslet 4 varieties. While the Crosslet 4 Classic Heads are also rare, the Capped Head fives of both varieties are notable rarities just as a design type.
Like their sister coinage of earlier years, the 1834 Capped Heads were the victims of mass meltings that nearly obliterated the original mintages. However, it appears that a few more may have been saved as the last of their type when the new Classic Head coins were introduced. Garrett and Guth sum up the situation regarding the pieces nicely:

"In a series of rarities, the 1834, Crosslet 4 is among the rarest. PCGS and NGC have graded only 10 examples, among which there are, no doubt, some resubmissions that have not been removed from the charts."

Since those words were written the combined certified total now stands at 18 submissions, but the principle is the same: a high likelihood of crossovers and duplications. Interestingly, Bass-Dannreuther rate the 1834 Capped Head, Plain 4 BD-1 as rarer (30-40 known, R.5+), providing an estimate of 45-55 coins for the Crosslet 4 which, while making it still R.5, seems overly generous, given the smallish certified populations. We would be unsurprised one day soon to see the Crosslet 4 ranked Low R.6, or 25-35 examples known.
Insignificant contact in the field apparently keeps this wonderful piece from an even finer grade, but the only notable marks are in the lower left obverse field above star 1. Generous luster is present throughout the yellow-gold surfaces. On the obverse the often-seen die crack extends from the rim through stars 9 to 13, but the crack at star 6 is unseen. The reverse shows an arcing crack through all letters of AMERICA that continues into the denomination.
Bass-Dannreuther neatly capture the appeal of these early type coins:

"The Motto issues of 1834 are very popular with collectors and they represent the last of the old tenor gold coins. The romance associated with these coins, combined with their rarity and the uniqueness of each obverse and reverse die, make them irresistible."

Census: 2 in 62, 3 finer (11/09).(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 25RP, PCGS# 8161)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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