If you ask most casual collectors which of these two issues is the rarer or more desirable, I’m guessing most would select the 1838-D. Let’s look at the Tale of the Tape for each issue and then I will add some analysis.Read More
As a date, the 1840-C half eagle is a scarce and numismatically significant issue. It is the first year in which half eagles were made at this mint with the new, modified head, and the first year in which the mintmark was placed on the reverse. In the third edition of my book “Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint, 1838-1861,” I rank it as the fourth rarest of 24 Charlotte half eagles, and believe it is the third rarest in high grades. My estimate is that there are around 150 known in all grades with most in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine range. In Uncirculated, the 1840-C half eagles is very rare with five or six known.Read More
After employing the Classic Head design for just one year, the Charlotte mint produced the first of the Gobrecht Liberty Heads in 1839 only. This design is readily identifiable by a different configuration of the portrait and the presence of the mintmark on the obverse. As a date, the 1839-C is only the ninth rarest of twenty-four half eagles from this mint but it is the sixth rarest in high grades. In AU55 and above, this is an extremely scarce coin. The present example shows nice natural green-gold color with some deeper reddish-orange hues at the borders. The strike is bold and there are just a few light abrasions viisble on the surfaces. A small obverse rim nick at 10:00 doesn't detract; a small rim cud below the 18 in the date is as made. An important one-year type that, along with the 1839-D, is one of the few Southern branch mint half eagles that has multiple levels of demand.
As the second most available Charlotte quarter eagle, this date gets no price premium for rarity which makes it ideal for type purposes. Speaking of ideal, the appearance of this coin is really attractive for the grade with rich natural coppery-reddish colors on the obverse which are contrasted by lots of dirt in the protected areas. This is the sort of a coin that was graded Choice EF even before slabbing started as it shows excellent overall detail and even has a hint of luster in the protected areas. It has become more and more difficult to find Southern branch mint gold coins of this quality yet the premium for this piece over a horrible processed EF45 is still only 10-15%.
The 1847-C is, by far, the most available quarter eagle from this mint. It is also the best produced. These two factors combine to make this issue the perfect choice for a collector who is seeking a single affordable type example of a Charlotte quarter eagle. This particular piece is extremely high end with lovely deep rich green gold color. It appears to have never been cleaned or dipped and it is kept from an AU58 grade, I presume, only by the presence of some light, well-hidden scuffs in the left obverse field. I can't recall having handled many nicer Charlotte quarter eagle in this price range and this is the sort of coin that gets more and more appealing with repeated viewings.
This is the second-to-last half eagle made at the Charlotte mint and it is a scarcer issue in all grades. It is also one of the most crudely made with improperly hardened dies making it appear very worn on the reverse; even on higher grade examples. This piece is one of just a handful of 1860-C half eagles that remain with natural color and it has never been cleaned or dipped like most. The color is an attractive deep, even green-gold with a thin band of contrasting coppery-rose at the border. There are a couple of old marks in the fields that are nicely hidden by the depth of the color and a small horizontal strip in the left obverse field is as made.
This is exactly the sort of coin that, so many times in the past, has been scrubbed and reholdered by the grading services as an AU58. To my eyes, it is far more attractive (and valuable) as a "virgin" 55. As always, this piece must be graded only by the obverse as the reverse is weak and fuzzy due to improper planchet preparation. Both sides show very appealing medium to deep green-gold color and there is ample dirt in the recesses on both sides. A thin mint-made defect in the left obverse field runs from the denticles between stars one and two towards the chin and is diagnostic to the issue. The 1860-C half eagle is genuinely scarce in properly graded AU55 to AU58 and very rare in Uncirculated. This example is perfect for the date collector but would make a nice type coin as well.