Battle of the Classic Head Fives: The 1838-C vs. The 1838-D

Battle of the Classic Head Fives: The 1838-C vs. The 1838-D

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

Why Does the 1861-C Half Eagle Get No Love?

Why Does the 1861-C Half Eagle Get No Love?

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

Cool Coins from the 2015 ANA: Part Two

Cool Coins from the 2015 ANA: Part Two

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

1860-C $5.00 NGC AU55

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.