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    1821 Half Eagle, BD-1, AU55
    An Important Early Gold Rarity
    Same Reverse Die as the 1822 Issue

    1821 $5 AU55 NGC. CAC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a/a. Both varieties of 1821 half eagle are very rare or exceedingly rare, Dannreuther estimating the BD-1 variety at High R.6 or 12 to 15 examples surviving, the BD-2 at High R.7 or three to five known. This is the "more available" (pardon the expression) BD-1 variant.

    The two varieties share a common reverse, the 1820F die carried over from the previous year, where it was used to produce the 1820 BD-9. The letters on the reverse are large, and the lowest arrow points toward the bottom-right serif of the I in AMERICA. The tip of the lowest arrow feather is closer to the D than the 5. This same reverse die was also used on the half eagles dated 1822, 1832, and 1824 -- perhaps as close as most numismatists will ever get to actually owning an 1822 half eagle, of which only three examples are known (one in private hands).

    The obverse of the two 1821 varieties is, of course, the differentiator, the BD-1 showing star 13 touching the bust with one point, while star 13 on the BD-2 is farther away and shows two points facing the bust.

    This Choice AU coin is one of two submissions in this grade at NGC, and that service has seen three finer: one each in MS61, MS63, and MS66 (12/13). PCGS shows 10 grading events for the 1821 half eagle, ranging from VF30 to MS66. There are certainly duplications in these figures.

    We offered an AU58 PCGS-CAC example of the BD-1 in our FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2012), lot 4673, which realized $161,000. This example last appeared in a 2009 Bowers and Merena auction, where it realized $97,750. It is identifiable by a small indented planchet flaw near the lowest point of star 1. Generous luster appears on each side, the prevailing honey-gold color accented with tinges of orange and lilac near the rims on the obverse and an overall deeper sunset-orange hue on the reverse.

    This piece should certainly pique the interest of early gold collectors, as among the rarest offerings in the current lineup.

    Roster of 1821 Half Eagle Auction Appearances
    The roster below is updated from our January 2012 FUN Signature, showing only the handful of examples that have appeared at auction.

    1. MS62 NGC. Superior (5/2006), lot 1104.
    2. MS61 NGC. BD-2. Bowers and Merena (9/1984), lot 127; Auction '89, Superior (7/1989), lot 888; Michael I. Keston Sale (Superior, 1/1996), lot 112; Superior (5/2001), lot 4043.
    3. AU55 NGC. BD-2. George H. Earle (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2391; Flanagan Collection (Stack's, spring 1944), lot 1097; Lee Sale (Stack's 10/1947), lot 1240; New Netherlands (6/1957), lot 378; Baltimore ANA (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1954.
    4. AU55 NGC. BD-1. Pre-Long Beach Sale (Superior, 5/2003), lot 3697; Frog Run Farm Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 11/2004), lot 1797; Bowers and Merena (3/2009), lot 3707. The present specimen.
    5. AU55 NGC. BD-1. Stack's (4/1983); Rajj Collection (Stack's, 8/2011), lot 7671.
    6. AU53 PCGS. BD-1. Bowers and Merena (11/2009), lot 3684.
    From the collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: P5)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 25PX, PCGS# 8129)

    Weight: 8.75 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

    View all of [The collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2014
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,245

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Jan 9, 2014 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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