1834 Capped Bust Left Five, XF40
1834 $5 Capped Head, Crosslet 4 XF40 PCGS. BD-2, R.5.
Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b. The Capped Bust Left design, with
the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM on the reverse, was replaced by the
Classic Head type partway through the year in 1834. The older style
half eagles had an intrinsic value that was greater than their face
value, resulting in mass hoarding and melting of the coins as soon
as they were issued. To correct this situation and allow the coins
to actually circulate, the Classic Head half eagles were of lighter
weight and reduced gold content. The measure was a success, but it
resulted in even more melting of the old-tenor gold pieces, making
the 1834 a very scarce issue today.
Motto, Crosslet 4, BD-2 Variety
Rare Old-Tenor Gold
According to Mint records, 50,141 Capped Bust Left half eagles were struck in the first part of the year, with four die varieties known for the date and type. Two varieties used a Plain 4 in the date and two used a Crosslet 4. This coin represents the BD-2 variety, with a Crosslet 4 and the lowest curl of Liberty's hair open. The BD-2 has a small surviving population of 45-55 examples in all grades, but it is still the most available 1834 variety. It probably accounted for 20,000-25,000 pieces of the reported mintage. This was the only use of the obverse die, but the reverse was also used to coin the BD-3 variety of this date.
The present coin is an attractive XF specimen, with well-detailed design elements that show little actual wear. The lightly abraded yellow-gold surfaces show a few traces of prooflike reflectivity in sheltered areas. An arcing die crack through stars 9-13 and another from the denomination through MERICA identifies the die state. Altogether, a pleasing example of this rare date and type. Population: 1 in 40, 8 finer (4/13).
Ex: Baltimore Signature (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 2971, realized $45,000.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 25RP, PCGS# 8161)
Weight: 8.36 grams
Metal: 89.92% Gold, 10.08% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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