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    1830 Capped Head Left Half Eagle, MS60
    Early U.S. Gold Rarity
    Small 5D, BD-2

    1830 $5 Small 5D, BD-2, High R.5, MS60 NGC. Despite a substantial mintage of 126,351 pieces, the 1830 Capped Head Left half eagle is a rare issue in today's market. From about 1821 to 1834, U.S. gold coins had an intrinsic value that was significantly greater than their face value, so examples were hoarded, exported, and melted almost as soon as they were struck. Half eagles were seldom seen in circulation until Congress changed the specifications for all U.S. gold coins in 1834, to bring their gold content in line with their face value. The design was changed to the Classic Head motif to signify the change in 1834 and the new half eagles circulated freely after that time. Of course, the old-tenor gold coins continued to be melted for their excess gold content and few survived until coin collectors began saving them in a meaningful way in the 1850s.

    Two die varieties are known for the date, with a shared obverse but different reverse dies. The obverse die was thought to be an overdate in the past, but John Dannreuther discovered the final digit is just repunched over another 0 (see United States Proof Coins, Volume IV, page 537). This coin represents the BD-2 variety, with a Small 5D in the denomination. The BD-2 is slightly more available than the other variety, but the surviving population numbers no more than 15-25 examples in all grades, per PCGS CoinFacts. The reverse die was used again to strike the BD-1 variety of 1831. The BD-2 dies probably struck 50,000-75,000 pieces of the reported mintage.

    The present coin is an impressive Mint State specimen, with well-detailed design elements that show just a touch of softness on star 5 and the eagle's feathers. The pleasing antique-gold surfaces are lightly abraded and retain much original mint luster. The overall presentation is most attractive. Census (for the variety): 1 in 60, 2 finer (11/19). (NGC ID# BFYC, Variety PCGS# 519947, Base PCGS# 45293)

    Weight: 8.75 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 29
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 261

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