I recently sold a nice PCGS/CAC AU55 1861-C half eagle and it made me think: why is the 1861-C less than one-third the price of the 1861-D in higher grades and why doesn’t the 1861-C have more of a fuss made over it?Read More
For a number of reasons, the 1861-C is the most interesting half eagle struck at the Charlotte mint. It is the final issue from this facility with a small production of just 6,879 coins. But it is the fact that at least 887 were made after employees signed a Loyalty Oath to the Confederacy that makes it so intriguing. Unfortunately, there is an absolute way by which to determine which coins were made by the rebel minters. As a date, the 1861-C used to be held in nearly as high regard as the 1861-D half eagle but that issue now sells for a three to five time premium in EF and AU grades, I think the 1861-C is now hugely undervalued given its story and its scarcity. The example I am offering here is pleasing for the grade with natural russet shadings on the obverse and reverse. The surfaces are a bit "ticky" but these marks are common for the issue and are actually less detracting than is usual. I personally like this coin more than the NGC EF45 that Heritage just sold as Lot 5029 in their June auction for $7,188. It is interesting to note that only two EF40's have sold at auction since 1996 and the last, ANR 3/05: 704, brought $6,900.