This is among the most exciting coins that I have offered this year, both for the Liberty Head half eagle specialist and for the collector who is focused on highly important rarities. Only 2,442 1863 half eagles were struck and this is, in my opinion, the second rarest half eagle from this mint after the 1875. There are fewer than three dozen known in all grades and the few that exist tend to be in the EF40 to AU50 range and are characterized by very poor eye appeal. This fresh example has fully original sunset-gold colors on the obverse and reverse and full satiny luster. The surfaces are remarkably choice with just a few small scuffs visible to the naked eye and there is a complete absence of rub or wear on the high spots. I feel that NGC was conservative when they graded this coin as it has the visual appeal of a coin that grades at least a point or two higher. NGC has recorded two examples of this date in Uncirculated: this piece in MS60 and an MS61. I have never seen the MS61 but I'm told, from reliable sources, that it is nowhere near as nice as the present example. I believe that this coin is the single finest known business strike 1863 half eagle; a rather remarkable feat considering the rarity of this issue and its high collector appeal due to its Civil War date of issue. I don't have to stress the importance of this offering and it is certain to become a centerpiece in its new collection.