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    1833 Capped Head Left Half Eagle, MS63
    Small, Close Date, BD-2 Variety
    Sought-After Elusive Issue

    1833 $5 Small Date, BD-2, R.6, MS63 PCGS. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a/e. The 1833 Capped Head Left half eagle claims a rather substantial mintage of 193,630 pieces, with three die varieties known for the date. The coin offered here represents the rare BD-2 variety, with the Close, Small Date and the period distant from D in the denomination. An entirely different set of numeral punches was used to impress the so-called Small Date obverse, but it is difficult to distinguish this issue from its Large Date counterpart based on the numeral size alone. The closer spacing of the date and the belted 8 (rather than symmetrical 8) features are much easier to see. The BD-2 is an elusive issue, with a surviving population of just 22-28 specimens in all grades. The BD-2 is seen less often than the BD-1 variety of 1833, but it is more available than the very rare BD-3. The BD-2 probably accounted for 75,000-100,000 pieces of the reported mintage. The obverse die was used again to strike the BD-3 variety of 1833. This was the final use of the hardy reverse, which was used previously to strike all the half eagles in 1832 and the BD-1 variety of 1833.

    The 1833 half eagle was a popular issue with 19th century numismatists and examples began appearing at auction at least as early as lot 1655 of the Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1864), "1833 Nearly proof; about as rare as the preceding." The lot realized a strong price of $31, to Heman Ely, a prominent collector from Ohio. Early die variety specialist John Colvin Randall noticed the difference between the "close date" and "broad date" varieties of 1833 before 1885 and the BD-2 was known to Edgar Adams, John H. Clapp, and Waldo Newcomer in the early 20th century.

    The present coin is a delightful Select specimen, with lustrous orange-gold surfaces that show only minor signs of contact. The design elements were strongly impressed, but the reverse die was heavily lapped (after three previous uses), resulting in some loss of detail in the arrow fletching and eagle's talons. Overall visual appeal is outstanding for this rare early gold issue. Population (for Small Date): 2 in 63, 4 finer (10/16).
    From The Hutchinson Collection. (Variety PCGS# 519953, Base PCGS# 8158)

    Weight: 8.75 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Hutchinson Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    4th-9th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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