1844-O $5.00 PCGS MS61

Bass Collection Pedigree Let's say that you are a type collector and you want a nice No Motto half eagle from the New Orleans mint in Uncirculated. You really don't have alot of choices as only one date--the 1844-O--is relatively obtainable in Uncirculated. And if your budget is around $5,000 for a nice coin, than this piece is exactly what you are looking for. This piece is housed in an older holder and it has remained untouched since it was sold at the Bass IV sale in 2000. It is solid for the grade with nice light yellow-gold color and great luster. The strike is a bit weak at the centers and there are a few marks at the eleventh and twelfth stars but you aren't going to find a nicer 1844-O in an MS61 holder. Legitimately Uncirculated examples of this date are not that easy to find and this coin with its good eye apeal and great pedigree would make a great addition to any advanced set of New Orleans half eagles.

Ex Bass IV: 392 (Bowers and Merena 11/10) where it sold for $3,910

1844-O $10.00 PCGS MS61

As is the case with most of the New Orleans eagles produced between 1843 and 1848, the 1844-O is common enough in lower grades but it becomes scarce in properly graded AU55 to AU58 and it is very rare to extremely rare in full Mint State. This is clearly the case with the 1844-O. I am aware of seven or eight in Uncirculated (not including the unique Gem Proof example that sold a few years ago in excess of $1 million) and this includes three that have seawater surfaces as a result of having been uncovered in shipwrecks. The present example is the second best I have seen with original surfaces, trailing only the wonderful Byron Reed: 157 coin, graded MS62 by NGC, that brought $31,900 all the way back in 1996. This coin has wonderful soft, frosty luster with lovely natural light orange-gold color on both sides. A few very faint natural reddish spots can be seen; one above the 18 in the date and the other between the two 4's. The strike is sharp and the obverse is clean and choice with just a few minor marks; the reverse has a few more marks with most of these clustered in the field behind the head of the eagle. After years of neglect, high quality No Motto Liberty Head eagles have finally come into their own and are now appreciated for the rarities they are. That said, I think coins like this are still a great value and this lovely 1844-O is among the more exciting New Orleans eagles that I have offered for sale all year.

Ex Heritage 10/10: 4873, where it sold for $18,400.