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    Description

    1861 Half Eagle, MS66
    Important Condition Rarity
    Sole Finest at PCGS

    1861 $5 MS66 PCGS. CAC. The dawning of the Civil War in 1861 put a significant financial strain on the United States government. Over the course of that year alone the national debt more than doubled, increasing from $65 million to $145 million. Consequently, the government issued Demand notes in 1861 in an effort to raise funds for the war effort. The notes were non-interest-bearing certificates payable in a fixed weight of gold at four sub-Treasury offices: New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. The mass printing of Demand notes necessitated increased gold reserves, hence the production of 688,084 half eagles in 1861. Other denominations also experienced significant production total increases. According to Neil Carothers, "the Treasury's efforts to finance the war by loans had failed and at the beginning of 1862 gold payments were suspended, except on the Pacific Coast, in private and government transactions." In effect, the public continued to put a hefty premium on hard money, which circulated minimally in the early days of the war before being withdrawn entirely and hoarded en masse by early 1862.

    This situation is reflected in the population data of the 1861 half eagle. The vast majority of certified representatives are found in About Uncirculated condition, indicating that the coins circulated briefly before being stashed away for the duration of the war. The economic and political climate also accounts for the number of Mint State coins at the leading grading services. Mint condition pieces are available up to and including the Select level, and they often serve as No Motto type coins. In Choice and Gem condition the 1861 is obtainable for a price. In Premium Gem condition the 1861 is a first-rate rarity with just three examples certified at PCGS and NGC combined. This is the sole finest representative at PCGS, while NGC reports two coins in the same grade and none finer. It is also the single finest 1861 half eagle with a CAC sticker. Finally, the present coin is one of only six Premium Gems in the No Motto five dollar series at PCGS (2/15).

    This marvelous MS66 example boasts glowing luster over peach and rose-gold surfaces that show hints of deeper orange hues peripherally. The lustrous and pleasingly colored surfaces generate an incredible degree of visual appeal. The strike is as bold as the aesthetic quality is high with fully defined stars, hair curls, feathers, talons and olive leaves. Polish lines on each side are further evidence that this piece was struck from fresh dies. Some inconsequential chatter in the obverse field near star 11 will likely be the only identification marker in future sales, as both sides are void of any individually noteworthy marks. An important offering for advanced gold specialists. Housed in a green label holder.
    From The New Orleans Collection.(Registry values: P3)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 25VK, PCGS# 8288)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    View all of [The New Orleans Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,741

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