1842-C $5 Small Date MS62 PCGS. CAC....
Gorgeous 1842-C Small Date Half Eagle, MS621842-C $5 Small Date MS62 PCGS. CAC. Variety 4-C. Die State I. Any 1842-C half eagle is a valuable and scarce coin, but when die varieties are considered, one sticks out: the Small Date, which forms a distinct, small minority of survivors. Doug Winter, in his Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint, gives an excellent summation of this prized rarity:
Prized Early Die State
Prized Early Die State
"There were two varieties of half eagle struck at the Charlotte Mint in 1842. It is easy to determine that the Small Date coins were struck first as they show the same date size as on the Charlotte half eagles dated 1840 and 1841.
The 1842-C Small Date is the rarest Charlotte half eagle. It is also the second rarest Charlotte coin, trailing the excessively rare 1849-C Open Wreath gold dollar. This variety has long been considered a full-fledged member of the Charlotte half eagle series and no date set is truly complete without an example."
Out of a blanket mintage of 27,578 pieces, Winter assigns a mintage of just 4,595 pieces to the Small Date variety, and comparison to nearby issues reveals how small this figure is, even in the context of early Charlotte half eagles. Further contemplating the scenario is the question of strike, which further subdivides the Small Date variety into State I and State II coins, based on whether or not the coins show a rim cud near 12 o'clock on the reverse. Winter speculates that the perfect-die coins are part of " ... the first 2,555 pieces which were produced on March 22, 1842."
Like an Olympic athlete chasing gold, the collector who was outbid on the opportunity to own the Elrod specimen of the 1842-C Small Date half eagle, sold by Heritage at the 2005 FUN auction, has had to wait four years for a similar opportunity to come again. This lot, while not the Elrod coin (note the absence of the small abrasion below the chin, visible in the Heritage photography as well as the images in Akers and Winter, for which it served as the plate coin), displays considerable visual and technical appeal, making it a worthy rival to the Elrod example. With the offering of this MS62 1842-C Small Date half eagle, Heritage has had the privilege of handling both pieces at that level certified by PCGS (11/08), with none finer at that service.
Many of the same features that made the Elrod piece so desirable and pursued are replicated here. As a Die State I (or Perfect Dies) piece, it has sharper detail than the majority Die State II pieces, with excellent definition on the central hair and without even a trace of the typical striking softness below the lower part of the coronet. Surfaces are minimally abraded, though a handful of the usual wispy marks are present in the yellow-gold to orange-gold fields, and the luster is frosty and delightful with a hint of reflectivity. The eye appeal is, in a word, gorgeous. The dedicated Southern gold specialist will not want to miss this opportunity. As Winter writes in his summation for the issue, "The 1842-C Small Date is the rarest half eagle from this mint and it is the rarest collectible coin from Charlotte." The Charlotte Mint's best date in the best state -- what collector could ask for more?(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 25SV, PCGS# 8208)
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