At the recent 2015 ANA convention, I was able to purchase a number of really exciting choice and rare 18th and 19th century United States gold coins. Some of these never made my website; others did and sold quickly. In the latter category was a fresh-to-the-market 1840-C half eagle, graded MS63 by PCGS and later approved by CAC.
This coin was offered to me by one of my favorite wholesale suppliers, and he was quick to tell me that this piece had never appeared on the market before being offered for sale at the 2015 ANA show. As someone who appreciates Condition Census Charlotte gold coinage and who loves choice, crusty gold coins, I was an instant buyer when I was shown the coin.
As a date, the 1840-C half eagle is a scarce and numismatically significant issue. It is the first year in which half eagles were made at this mint with the new, modified head, and the first year in which the mintmark was placed on the reverse. In the third edition of my book “Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint, 1838-1861,” I rank it as the fourth rarest of 24 Charlotte half eagles, and believe it is the third rarest in high grades. My estimate is that there are around 150 known in all grades with most in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine range. In Uncirculated, the 1840-C half eagles is very rare with five or six known. The finest are as follows:
- PCGS MS64+. From a New England Estate, offered for sale by Heritage Auctions as 2011 FUN: 5110, but unsold as it failed to meet its reserve.
- NGC MS64. Heritage 1/11: 5109 ($57,500); ex Heritage 3/07: 1908 ($79,500); Akers 10/97: 949 ($77,000); Pittman collection; Sotheby's 3/54: 259; Farouk collection; Col. Green collection.
- PCGS MS63. The present example, sold by Douglas Winter Numismatics to a New England specialist.
- PCGS MS62. Heritage 1/14: 5443 ($28,200), ex Bently collection.
The 1840-C half eagle is an issue which is notorious for poor planchet quality and flat central strikes. Even those which are well-struck tend to come with numerous marks on the surfaces. There are very few known with original color, and any 1840-C which has not been dipped or brightened is very desirable.
The present example is the finest 1840-C half eagle that I have owned and I think it compares very favorably with the NGC MS64, listed above, which is ex Pittman/Farouk/Green. It displays lovely deep coloration over very choice surfaces and it is very likely that it has never been “improved” in any fashion.
I sold this coin to a prominent New England specialist who is working on a world-class collection of Charlotte coinage. This 1840-C half eagle is destined to become a centerpiece of his set, and he greatly appreciates the coin for its rarity, eye appeal, and aesthetic value.
Do you collect high grade Charlotte gold coins? Would you like to be offered coins like this impressive 1840-C half eagle? Call Doug Winter directly at (214) 675-9897 to discuss the formation of your own world-class set of Charlotte coinage.