Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options


    1831 Capped Head Left Five, MS64
    Small Diameter, Large 5D, BD-2 Variety
    One of the Finest Known

    1831 $5 Large 5D, BD-2, R.6, MS64 PCGS. CAC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/b. The 1831 Capped Head Left half eagle claims a substantial mintage of 140,594 pieces, split between just two die varieties. This coin represents the slightly more available BD-2 variety, recognizable by the Large D in the denomination. The BD-2 is seldom encountered in today's market and PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at 25-30 examples in all grades, a solid R.6 in overall rarity. When available, which tends to be only when specialized collection of early half eagles are sold, the Large D tends to grade in the AU58 to MS62 range. It is rare in MS63 and higher and this piece is among the finest known; both for the variety and for the date.

    The leading grading services have combined to certify a total of 26 specimens including all varieties (6/20). The obverse die was also used to strike the BD-1 variety of 1831 but this was the only use of the reverse die. From recently discovered die evidence, it now appears that the BD-2 variety of 1831 was struck between die marriages of the BD-1 variety.

    The 1831 half eagle was recognized as a rarity at an early date, and examples began to appear at auction at least as early as the Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1864), lot 1653:

    "1831 Very fine indeed, and extremely rare, the first offered at public sale."

    The lot realized realized $40, the third-highest price for any half eagle in the sale, behind the rare 1795 Large Eagle and the even rarer 1825/4. The lot sold to George Seavey, of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. We believe it is the same coin that sold for a record price of $646,250 when it was offered in the D. Brent Pogue Collection in May 2016.

    This current example is likely the third finest known 1831 half eagle of either variety, trailing only the Pogue MS67 Small D and the PCGS MS65+ Large D, also from the Pogue Collection, which brought $235,000 in May 2016. Another coin graded MS65 by PCGS shows in the census, but it is likely the same coin as the MS65+.

    The present coin is a delightful Choice specimen that exhibits the "glow" seen on certain high quality, original gold coins from this era. It is well struck for the issue with almost no weakness in the centers or on the stars, and both sides display dazzling, unbroken mint frost. There are just enough shallow marks to remove this lovely piece from Gem classification, but it has the strongest eye appeal of any of the 1830s half eagles in the remarkable McCoy Family Collection. This would be a perfect coin for the type collector who seeks a single Capped Head Left reduced diameter half eagle. CAC has approved this single coin in MS64 with none finer (6/20).
    Ex: L.A. Collection of U.S. Type Coins; 55th Anniversary Collection (Stack's, 10/1990), lot 1682; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2017), lot 5880, where it brought $211,500; Douglas Winter Numismatics; McCoy Family Collection.
    From The McCoy Family Collection of Capped Head Half Eagles.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# BFYF, Variety PCGS# 519949, Base PCGS# 45296)

    Weight: 8.75 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

    View all of [The McCoy Family Collection of Capped Head Half Eagles ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    3rd-9th Monday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 30
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,778

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

    Sold on Aug 4, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2022 April 27 - May 3 Central States World Coins Signature® Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    Rock & Roll with Heritage into the 21st century of numismatics.
    J.P. ,
    Euclid, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search