1838-D $5.00 NGC AU53

The 1838-D isn't the rarest half eagle from this mint (that honor belongs to the 1842-D Large Date) nor is it the most historically significant (take a bow, 1861-D) but it is the most numismatically significant as it is the first issue from this mint and the only half eagle employing the Classic Head design. The 1838-D isn't really that rare from the standpoint of overall number known but most survivors are in lower grades and the few choice examples that exist tend to be in tightly-held private collections. The 1838-D is seldom seen with original color and surfaces and this fresh-to-the-market example (accompanied by an old handwritten manila envelope) has a considerable amount of natural mint luster visible below medium greenish-gold and pale orange splashes. The detail is excellent for the issue with the centers showing nice definition while there are no surface marks of consequence. There is a small obverse rim bump at 11:00 on the obverse where the coin appears to have been dropped onto a hard surface at one time. This issue is always in demand and with very marginal quality EF-ish coins now selling in the $5,000-7,000, this fully AU example makes sense from a value standpoint.

Ex Stack's Bowers 3/12: 7490 where it sold for $9,775; from the Demarete collection.