BD-1, R-3. The Draped Bust Right variety of quarter eagle was produced from 1796 through 1807 and it is noted for being amongst the rarest of all early gold issues. The 1807 is by far the most available date of the type but even this issue is not easily found and when available, examples tend to be in the AU and lower Uncirculated grades. There is a high amount of demand for affordable middle grade quarter eagles of this design but they are seldom available as this issue just didn't circulate to wear down to the VF-EF grades. There has been just one PCGS EF40 example of the 1807 sold at auction since 2004 and this was recent (Heritage 9/11: 4201 at $13,800). The present coin is problem-free and while it shows wear, this is even and gentle. In fact, the surfaces of this coin are cleaner than usual for the type and date with nice medium green-gold and orange colors, in slightly different hues, seen on the obverse and reverse. I have handled a few reasonably priced 1807 quarter eagles this year and all of them have sold quickly.
BD-1, R-3. Of the three denomination of early gold, the quarter eagle is the single hardest to locate with good eye appeal. When available, early quarter eagles tend to have been poorly struck and are often found with either mint-made defects or bright, liberally abraded surfaces. The present example is very choice for the grade with natural deep green-gold color on the obverse and reverse that strongly suggests that no dipping or "improvements" have befallen the surfaces. As is common for this date, the centers are not fully detailed and there are some mint-made vertical adjustment marks on the portrait that are well-concealed by the depth of the color. The 1807 is by far the most available date of this type with an original mintage of 6,812; nearly one-third the total of the 19,487 quarter eagles made between 1796 and 1807. As a result, it is the perfect date for the type collector as it carries no rarity premium. The last AU55 1807 quarter eagles to appear at auction, between April 2009 and August 2010, sold for $20,700, $20,700 and $21,850, respectively.
BD-1, R-3. The 1807 is the most available early quarter eagle with an estimated 250-300 known to exist in all grades from the original mintage of 6,812. It is usually seen in the AU50 to MS62 range which makes it a date (and a type) that is priced out of the range of many collectors. In problem-free EF45, the 1807 is seen even less frequently than its low population figures would suggest (can you say "regrades??") and this is verifiable by the fact that no PCGS EF45 has sold at auction since Heritage 2/03: 8094. This example has warm sunset gold color at the borders which frames green-gold centers; a dab of reddish color can be seen at the central reverse. For the grade, there is a good amount of luster and the surfaces are free of severe abrasions, adjustment marks or imperfections. I think this coin is much closer to AU50 than EF45 (I tried a number of times to upgrade it) and you would be hard-pressed to find another Capped Bust Right quarter eagle in this grade and price range with as much eye appeal as this piece.
BD-8, R-2. The new Bust Left variety was introduced in 1807 and continued until it was replaced in 1813. None of the issues made during this era are really rare except in higher grades and nice MS62 examples are, in my opinion, amongst the best values of this type. Properly graded MS62's are free of wear and really new but not priced out of the range of many early gold collectors. This attractive, frosty example shows the rich green-gold color that is typical to the issue but which is not seen on coins that have been processed. It is well struck and free of planchet issues; a few minor ticks in the fields keep it firmly within the MS62 level but it is far nicer than usual for the grade. An MS63 example of this date will cost you close to $10,000 more than an MS62 and I'm not really certain that, in most cases, this premium is justified.
BD-5, High R-6.. In 1807, two varieties of half eagle were struck: the old Capped Right and the new Bust Left. Of the two, the former is scarcer, especially in higher grades. This is a delightful example for the date with a really "fresh" appearance that suggests an MS63 grade, Both sides show lovely rich yellow-gold and reddish-orange colors and this piece has never been dipped or processed unlike so much early gold. The strike is very slightly weak at the centers as is common for this die variety and there are a few minor mint-made adjustment marks on the obverse rim from 3:00 to 5:00. There are no less than five die cracks seen on the obverse including a few terminal state ones; clearly the dies for this varirty were about to break apart as this coin was made. Although I am not asking a rarity premium for it, BD-5 is believed to have only twenty or so pieces known and most are in lower grades. A wonderful type coin for the collector who insists on freshness with his early gold purchases and a date that is undervalued in this grade and with this degree of eye apopeal.
Bust Right variety. BD-1, High R-4. Small Reverse stars; the only one of the six half eagles struck this year with this reverse and a distinct naked-eye variety as such. Old Green Holder. A stunning, semi-prooflike example with deep natural yellow gold color seen over the partially reflective fields. Well struck and well made with no significant abrasions or mint-made planchet issues; nicely detailed at the centers and borders with most of the fine design elements showing nearly full clarity. This piece is housed in an old holder and it was last graded at least two decades ago. Unlike so many Bust Right half eagles in MS63 holders, it hasn't been dipped or enhanced and it has really exceptional overall eye appeal. While common in the lowest Uncirculated grades, the 1807 Bust Right becomes rare in properly graded MS63 and it is extremely rare above this with just five finer at PCGS (four in MS64 and a single MS65). The last MS63 to trade at auction was an NGC coin (Heritage 1/12: 4855) which was not CAC approved and which was not high end for the grade; it brought $21,850. You have to go all the way back to the Superior 1/06 sale to find a PCGS MS63 at auction; that coin brought $20,700. Given the fact that the present example is PCGS graded graded, CAC approved and in an old green label holder (quite a triumverate!), I think it is worth at least a 20% premium above the above-referenced NGC example. As of 1/12, only three 1807 Bust Right half eagles graded MS63 have been approved by CAC with two finer than this. A great example for an advanced type set or date run of early half eagles.
Capped Bust Left variety. BD-8, Rarity-2. In 1807, the old Capped Bust Right Heraldic Eagle reverse half eagle design was changed by John Reich. This makes 1807 an interesting transitional year for the half eagle denomination with two distinct design available to collectors. As a set, the 1807 transitional half eagles are highly completable in nearly any desired grade. The present 1807 Bust Left half eagle is as an original an early gold coin of any date or denomination that you are likely to find. It shows superb deep green-gold hues that are accentuated by splashes of coppery-gold in the open fields. There is just a tiny amount of friction seen on the high spots and the quality of the surfaces is outstanding with a virtual absence of marks. Below the toning there is a good amount of luster and if this coin were (gasp!) dipped, it would become apparent that it is a very lustrous coin. Even though this is a reasonably common issue, it has become extremely hard to find examples with this degree of eye appeal and originality. In fact, you could search for along time and not find a nicer AU 1807 half eagle than this!