1823 $5.00 PCGS AU55

BD-1, High Rarity-4. There are probably no more than 100 or so known for this date and it is considerably harder to find than the 1818 and 1820, its two rivals in the Fat Head series when it comes to overall rarity and price. This piece is lightly circulated but its slightly weak strike makes it appear a bit more worn than it actually is. The fields are quite reflective as is typical for the issue and there are a few minor marks noted including some in the left obverse field that seem to be the result of handling. There have been no AU55 examples of the 1823 half eagle thaat have appeared at auction since February 2002 and in October 2011, an NGC AU58 example with CAC approval brought $20,700. After the recent sale of the Jacobson collection of Fat Head half eagles, these coins are finally realizing the attention that they deserve.

1823 $5.00 PCGS MS62 CAC

BD-1, High Rarity-4/Low Rarity-5. Struck from the exact same reverse die as the famous and ultra-rare 1822 half eagle. The 1823 is an overlooked date in the Fat Head half eagle series with a surviving population that appears to be as low as 75 coins. It is far rarer than the 1814/3, 1818 or 1820 and it is dozens of times rarer than the "common" 1813. This example is absolutely beautiful for the grade with fully prooflike surfaces that have toned in rich lemon-gold and orange shades. The fields have a few light handling marks but they have the body and appearance of a coin that grades at least a point higher. Here's my take on why this coin is a good value: an MS62 CAC 1813 of this quality is worth around $17,500 and can be found without a great deal of trouble. This 1823 is priced at just a bit more than double the amount but it is a rarity in all grades and it is almost impossible to find in grades above this unlike the 1813 which is reasonably common even in MS63. After the recent Heritage FUN sale, the Fat Head half eagle series is really starting to come into its own. There are still good opportunities in this series, though, and this 1823 is one of them.