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Press Release - May 12, 2005

Heritage to Auction Rare 1834 Capped Head Half Eagle!

Dallas, TX: Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc. (HNAI) will offer an extremely rare 1834 Capped Head Half Eagle, graded MS64 by NGC, in their upcoming Signature Auction, to be held June 1-4, 2005 as part of the official auction of the Long Beach Coin Expo.

"This is only the seventh time we have handled an 1834 Capped Head half eagle in the past dozen years," said Greg Rohan, President of HNAI. "Prior to the present offering, only two of those were Mint State, and this example is clearly the finest we have ever offered. Considering all varieties, NGC has certified five examples in MS64 grade and a single Gem MS65 coin."

"By 1834," Rohan continued, "and actually long before, it was realized that gold coinage production could not continue as it had, for the gold content actually exceeded the face value. Congress passed new legislation lowering the weight of all our gold coinage, promoting renewed circulation. The Act of June 28, 1834, which was to take effect on August 1, specified a new weight of 129 grains of standard gold for the half eagle. The same Act specified that half eagles coined previously were to be receivable at the rate of 94.8 cents per pennyweight, or $5.095 each, very nearly the actual gold value at the time. At the time, the Bechtler family, producers of private gold coinage in the Carolinas, adjusted the weight of their own coinage to meet the Federal standard."

"Few examples of the 1834 Capped Head half eagle survive today," said Rohan, "and seldom are they found any nicer than this. It is a very sharply struck example with fully brilliant, prooflike surfaces and excellent cameo contrast. The surfaces have bright greenish-gold color with only a few tiny blemishes. Searching for pedigrees can sometimes be a difficult task, especially when the coin is nice enough to have few visible pedigree markers. Such is the case here, although we believe that this is the Garrett Collection specimen. There is a faint patch of roughness at the left top of C and the right top of A in AMERICA. These appear to match the plate in the Garrett catalog. Similar patches appear above the I in UNITED and above OF, as well as the lower point of star 12 on the obverse, also all matching the Garrett photo. A faint scratch in the right obverse field, one of the few blemishes on this coin, is also visible on the color plate of that catalog."

"This is a wonderful opportunity for some lucky numismatist to add this exceptional coin to his or her collection," concluded Rohan, "an opportunity that may not present itself again for quite some time."

Images, descriptions, and prices realized from all of Heritage's previous sales are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website.

To purchase a catalog for any Heritage Sale, please contact Nicole Jewell, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX., 75219 or visit to order by credit card.

Heritage Numismatic Auctions' world headquarters are located at 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, Texas, 75219. 1-800-US COINS (1-800-872-6467).

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