DWN Sells Finest Known 1847-O Half Eagle

Douglas Winter Numismatics of Portland, Oregon recently sold the undisputed finest known example of the rare 1847-O half eagle. Graded MS61 by PCGS and approved by CAC, this coin was placed into the New England Collection, which is the finest set of New Orleans gold ever assembled. The sales price was in excess of $50,000.

1847-O $5.00 PCGS MS61 CAC

1847-O $5.00 PCGS MS61 CAC

The 1847-O is the rarest New Orleans half eagle in terms of overall and high-grade rarity. Only 12,000 were produced and an estimated 60-70 are known, mostly in low grades. Around a dozen 1847-O half eagles are known which properly grade About Uncirculated. Three pieces have been graded in Uncirculated by the two major services, with just one coin graded as Uncirculated by PCGS.

The revised roster of high grade 1847-O half eagles is as follows. (For more detailed information, please refer to Page 142 in the recently-published third edition of Doug Winter’s book on New Orleans gold coinage.)

  • PCGS/CAC MS61: New England Collection 2018 via Douglas Winter Numismatics, ex Cajun Collection, Milas Collection, Dodson Collection

  • NGC MS61: Pittman II 10/97: 984, ex Farouk, Col. Green Collections

  • NGC MS60: New England Collection duplicate, ex Douglas Winter Numismatics

For many years, the 1847-O was an overlooked rarity in the Liberty Head half eagle series. David Akers helped popularize it and a surprising auction record of $24,200 in the 1997 Pittman sale raised awareness further. Today, this issue is regarded as the cornerstone of the New Orleans half eagle set and just a single coin has been graded higher than AU55 by PCGS.

The Cajun/Milas/Dodson example of the 1847-O half eagle is an exceptional coin for the date and grade. It shows no wear and has far more remaining mint luster than on any other example of this issue. Most importantly, it is natural in appearance and lacks the harsh cleaning or surface manipulation(s) seen on virtually every known 1847-O half eagle. It is the only example of this date to have been approved in any grade higher than AU53.

The New England Collection now includes the finest known No Motto New Orleans Liberty Head half eagle for many of the 13 different issues of this series. This includes the 1842-O, 1843-O Small Letters, 1845-O, 1846-O, 1847-O, 1854-O, 1856-O (non-shipwreck), and 1857-O. All 13 of these issues are represented by a coin which grades at least MS61.

Douglas Winter Numismatics is the market leader in choice and rare 18th and 19th century United States gold coinage. For more information on coins like the finest known 1847-O half eagle, please contact us at dwn@ont.com or by phone at 214-675-9897.