1834 Plain 4 $5.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

Classic Head variety. If you are a collector with a $2,500-5,000 per coin budget and you like "old gold," it is a natural to look at Classic Head quarter eagles and half eagles. And there are few coins more appealing than a "gem slider" Classic Head half eagle, especially with the look of this piece. Both the obverse and reverse have glorious natural fiery reddish-gold color with the obverse more intense in hue than the reverse. There is no real wear; just some friction and bag handling in the fields on both sides. You'd have to spend at least double the asking price of this coin to find one that was nicer and even than it might not have this coin's wonderful overall eye appeal.

CAC has approved twenty-four in this grade with another nineteen finer.

1834 Plain 4 $5.00 NGC AU58 CAC

Classic Head. I always try to buy a nice Choice AU Classic Head half eagle or two at every major coin show I attend and at this year's edition of the FUN show, I purchased this example. This lustrous slider is instantly recognizable by a swatch of coppery-gold color on the obverse border from 3:00 to 6:00. It is lightly worn and frosty with some light scuffing in the fields but no real wear on the relief details. As is typical for the date, the central details are not fully defined but the overall strike is better than expected for the issue. I've said this before but it bears repeating: I am constantly amazed that you can purchase a nice quality half eagle from the mid-1830's for under $2,500. Buy this coin for a type set or, better yet, make it your first coin in a date run of Classic Head half eagles from 1834 through 1838.

1834 Classic $5.00 PCGS AU55 CAC

Plain 4. This is an extremely attractive, lightly circulated example with an exquisite appearance due to its rich natural deep gold and reddish coloration. There is just the slightest amount of friction visible on the high spots and the luster is very frosty and barely broken. I have seen numerous Classic Head half eagles in AU58, MS60, MS61 and even MS62 holders that couldn't begin to compare to this exceptional piece.

1834 Classic $5.00 NGC AU55 CAC

McCloskey 3-C, Rarity-5. Plain 4 variety. The 1834 Plain 4 is easily the most available Classic Head half eagle. This makes it an ideal coin for the beginning collector who wants to dabble in "old gold" or the type collector who wants an affordable example of this popular early type. This lustrous example has a few too many marks on the reverse to qualify as a 58 but it is lustrous and well-detailed. Both sides show nice yellow-gold color.

This is the rarest die variety for the date and it is actually even more difficult to find than the 1834 Crosslet 4.

1834 $2.50 NGC MS65 CAC

Classic Head variety. Small Head. A remarkable coin that appears to be among the first Classic Head quarter eagles produced from this die pair given its nearly fully reflective surfaces. This is the sort of coin that before third-party certification was sometimes called a "Proof" or "Specimen Strike" and it has amazing eye appeal as a result of its reflectivness and rich orange-gold color. There are a few small ticks in the fields but this is clearly a special coin. Classic Head quarter eagles in Gem have peculiar auction records. PCGS is brutally tough when grading these MS65 or better and the only two sales records in the last few years for PCGS 65's (both in 2008) were $54,625 and and $89,125 respectively. I have, as you can no doubt guess, tried to cross this coin to PCGS given its higher value and, so far, have had no luck. But I do think this it has some potential of crossing in the future (especially if it were submitted with the "right" coins) and, obviously, it has enormous upside. But you are buying a coin and not a holder (hopefully) and you should be aware that this is one of the finest Classic Head quarter eagles to be available in some time. Only three 1834 Classic Head quarter eagles in MS65 have been approved by CAC with just one better.