1842-O $5.00 NGC AU55

The true rarity of this date is not widely known but it is the second hardest New Orleans half eagle to locate both in terms of overall and high grade rarity. There are well under 100 known from the original mintage of 16,400 and unlike dates like the 1840-O, 1843-O Small and Large Letters and 1845-O, it is virtually non-existent in higher grades. There are exactly three known in Uncirculated (all placed in private collections) and probably another ten to twelve properly graded AU pieces. The present example is one of the few 1842-O half eagles that I have ever seen with fully original color and both sides show a handsome deep, rich green-gold hue. There are a few minor marks in the fields including a small cut between the final star and the back of the neck but this date is known for its rough surfaces and this piece is much more choice than usual in that regard. There has been exactly one auction record for an AU55 for this date in the last decade: the ANR 3/04: 1398 coin (graded by NGC) that brought $8,625 in a market that was far less appreciative of rare New Orleans gold coinage. This coin is a great combination of rarity and beauty and I think it is a great value at less than $10,000.