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    1824 Capped Head Half Eagle, MS64
    Heavily Melted Early Gold Rarity
    BD-1, Only Dies for the Date

    1824 $5 BD-1, High R.5, MS64 PCGS. CAC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a/b. Put in its simplest terms, few coins of any denomination have experienced a decade of such low production and low survival as the half eagles of the 1820s. Very few collectors have attempted or completed such a set. Indeed, only one such set could be completed since there are only three 1822 half eagles known, of which two are impounded in the Smithsonian and only one is in private hands. The story is well-known, and has been oft-repeated, how meltings took a heavy toll on these coins as their bullion content was actually worth more than their face value. The 1824 gives a graphic demonstration of how severely these meltings affected this series. The recorded mintage of the 1824 five dollar was 17,340 pieces. Today PCGS CoinFacts estimates only 30-35 examples are extant in all grades.

    To underscore the rarity of the 1824, Harry Bass owned only one example of this date. Only one variety is known of the 1824 and, like all the gold coins he collected, Bass made a study of the characteristics of the dies used to strike this date. The study of his single coin led him to the conclusion that the bust punch used on the 1824 die was the same one used on half eagles from 1818-1822. Even with only one coin in his collection and probably fewer than 35 pieces known today, Bass was able to make this observation. John Dannreuther expounded on his findings in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, saying the 1824:

    "... has the obverse die with the old-style cap used in 1822 and prior (really 1818-1822, as the Reich hub was used 1813-1815 with no coins dated 1816 or 1817). The differences in these head punches are subtle; even direct comparison between them shows little difference between the two, three, or four heads. The main two heads are the 1813-1815 one (by John Reich) and the 1818-1829 one (by Robert Scot). The others reported are likely modifications of the Scot head, the second one used for 1818 through the end of the type in 1829."

    It would not be fair to say that this coin is unknown to the numismatic community. Two offerings of this coin are in Akers' listing of auction appearances of half eagles published in 1979 and it appeared again in our February Long Beach Signature in 2009. However, this piece has been off the market and in a private collection for a decade since it last appeared at public auction. That undoubtedly explains much of the charm of this particular coin. The mint luster is thickly layered over each side. There is no thinning in the fields, as often seen on early gold coins. The originality is unquestionable. The surfaces display medium orange-gold color with a subtle green undertone. Close examination also shows an outline of reddish patina surrounding the devices. One remarkable aspect of this coin is the completeness of the striking details on each side: fully defined hair curls, complete star centers, even complete plumage on the eagle. This is a remarkably clean coin for an MS64. A couple of light scuffs can be made out on the obverse, but the reverse exhibits no mentionable distractions.
    Ex: 1963 FUN Sale (Federal Brand, 1/1963), lot 4183, where it brought $6,750; 17th Annual Southern California Sale (RARCOA, 2/1972), lot 869, where it realized $8,000; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2009), lot 2685, realized $126,500.
    From The Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (Variety PCGS# 519933, Base PCGS# 8132)

    Weight: 8.75 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

    View all of [The Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    14th-18th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 667

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

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