Choice AU 1832 13 Stars Half Eagle, BD-11832 $5 13 Stars AU55 PCGS. Breen-6495, BD-1, R.5. The weight and fineness standards for U.S. gold coins remained unchanged from 1792 until 1834. Unfortunately, economic conditions changed drastically during the intervening four decades. By the early 1820s, the price of gold had risen on the world market, to the point that the bullion value of U.S. gold coins far exceeded the face value. These conditions brought about massive hoarding and melting, with the result that gold coinage vanished from circulation after 1821.
To remedy the situation, the Coinage Act of June 28, 1834 was passed. The act introduced a new design for the gold coins, the Classic Head, by William Kneass. The act also reduced the specifications for the half eagle from 135 grains, .9167 fineness of gold to 129 grains, .8992 fineness of gold. The specifications for the other gold coins were reduced accordingly. The act took effect in August 1834, after which time gold coins began to regularly circulate in everyday commerce. While the new gold coins circulated readily, the old dates continued to be melted, because they still contained too much gold for their face value. As a result, every coin in the 1829-1834 Capped Head, Small Size type is very rare and highly prized.
BD-1 is one of only two die pairings for this date. The other marriage, BD-2, is the extremely rare 12 Stars variety. The reduced diameter Capped Bust Left subtype is collectible by date, unlike its large diameter predecessor. Yet every date requires great patience to locate, evidenced by the fact that our Permanent Auction Archives show only 14 offerings of this coin in any grade in our auctions since 1991. In contrast, the large diameter 1813 is readily obtained if the checkbook can comply. This is a splendidly detailed Choice AU example that lacks detrimental marks and has its share of glowing semi-prooflike luster. Undoubtedly destined for an outstanding collection. Population: 2 in 55, 12 finer (9/08).(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFYG, PCGS# 8156)
Weight: 8.75 grams
Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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