1841 $5.00 NGC MS64*

Early date Liberty Head half eagles just aren't supposed to look like this...but if you do want a No Motto example of this type with wonderful eye appeal, than the 1841 is a great choice. Not only is this date typically well made, there was a small hoard at one time (maybe eight to ten coins?) that grade MS64 to MS65 by today's standards and which are notable for their fantastic appearance(s). The present example is amazingly flashy with blazing frosty/semiprooflike hybrid luster and full cameo contrast on the obverse. There is a small cluster of marks behind the eagle's head that keeps this from grading MS65 but the eye appeal, as I mentioned above, is suggestive of a full 65. The first Gem that I can recall seeing of this date was the Milas: 439 coin (graded MS65 by NGC) that sold for $34,100 all the way back in 1995. Since then, other nice pieces have sold in the $20,000 range including two in the Bass sales (1999 and 2000) graded MS64 by PCGS. A stunning coin that would work well in nearly any type set of mid-19th century United States gold.

Note: The NGC and PCGS population figures for this date are well inflated due to resubmissions.

1876 $1.00 NGC MS64+ CAC

This popular Centennial year issue has an original mintage of only 3,200 business strikes. It is a scarce coin in this grade yet it remains affordable. This particular example has the look of a Gem but there are a few very light scuffs on the obverse that are hard to see without magnification.

As of June 2012, this is the only MS64+ example of this date graded by NGC.

1863 $3.00 NGC MS64 CAC

Only 5,000 business strike 1863 three dollar gold pieces were made and due to the economic turbulence of the Civil War, not many were saved. As a result, the 1863 is a scarce coin in higher grades and an issue that is very rare in the MS64 to MS65 range. This piece is very unusual for the issue as it lacks the prominent clashmarks seen on most 1863 Threes. It is semi-prooflike; another unusual situation for an issue that is typically seen with lustrous, slight grainy surfaces. This piece has the appearance of a Gem and I purchased it from one of the sharpest "breakout" wholesalers I know who told me that he graded it a full MS65. While I often disagree with him, I think he was pretty accurate on this and I can't figure out exactly what is keeping it from the 65 level. Since 2005, only three MS64's have sold at auction. The last record is Heritage 1/10: 2125, a PCGS piece, which brought $14,950. That coin had funky color and, in my opinion, it was low end for the grade. The Three Dollar series has numerous excellent values and this high grade 1863 is a piece that should appeal to the sophisticated collector who recognizes true value.

1880 $3.00 PCGS MS64 CAC

Only 1,000 business strikes were produced. The 1880 is an issue that has been popular ever since it was struck. Quantities were saved by contemporary collectors, dealers and hoarders who knew of its small mintage and speculated on it become a rarity someday. It did, a century later, and today's collectors like this date not only for its low mintage but its appearance. This lovely borderline Gem has superb rose, green-gold and orange colors atop vibrant, frosty surfaces. A few small abrasions on the obverse narrowly remove this coin from a higher grade but it has superb overall eye appeal. It is my belief that the PCGS and NGC populations for this date are way inflated, especially in MS64 and MS65 grades. A fantastic coin for a type collector and the exact sort of a coin that, if this series begins to regain its past popularity, has great upside.

1813 $5.00 PCGS MS64

BD-1, Rarity-2. The 1813 is the single most available date of the Capped Head Left large planchet half eagle type that was produced from 1813 through 1829. But "common" is a relative word and the 1813 is still a hard coin to locate with fewer than 1,000 extent in all grades. As one might expect, this issue becomes rarer as the grading scale is ascended and in MS64 it is a truly scarce coin with Gems being very rare to extremely rare. This specific coin is among the best 1813 half eagles that have come onto the market in many years. It has superb deep green-gold and yellowish colors atop very clean and very frosty surfaces. If you are familar with this issue you know that strike can be a problem and this piece is nicely detailed with just the slightest amount of weakness on the rims as typically seen. One ultra-fine obverse hairline narrowly removes this coin from the Gem level and a $100,000+ price tag. The last APR for an MS64 is Heritage 10/11: 4875 (graded by NGC) that sold for $46,000 while the last MS65 is Heritage 8/11: 7539 (also graded by NGC) that sold for a reasonable $92,000. If you are a collector who is putting together a meaningful type set of early gold and you are lookig for a high quality example of this important issue, give this 1813 half eagle some serious consideration.

1850-O 50C PCGS MS64+ CAC

Fully struck and very lustrous with attractive totally original russet pastel color on the obverse and, a bit less extensively, on the reverse. A few very faint scuffs in the fields narrowly remove this piece from the Gem level. I like this coin considerably more than Osburn: 7038 (at $6,613) which, while graded MS65 by NGC, had no character due to a recent dipping. Only four examples have been graded MS64+ by PCGS and, in my opinion, the entire population for Mint State 1850-O half dollars at PCGS is grossly inflated. Coins like this are wonderful value and this piece is really not all that far off, from the standpoint of appearance, from the PCGS MS65 that sold for $14,950 in the Bowers and Merena 11/10 auction.

1812 $5.00 NGC MS64

BD-1. R-3. Wide 5D variety. Struck from unclashed dies. This is a fresh and really lovely example of a Capped Bust Left half eagle. It has totally original color with rich green-gold shadings that deepen at the borders. The strike is as sharp as one could hope for with just a small amount of weakness at the centers; the borders show full denticles and radial lines on the stars. The obverse is virtually of Gem quality save for a few minor scuffs in the fields; the reverse shows a few minor vertical adjustment marks at the center that blend in with the detail. What appears to be "damage" on the reverse is actually a mint-made defect through the horizontal lines in the shield that is found on all examples of this variety. While readily available in the lower Uncirculated grades, the 1812 becomes scarce in MS63 and it is rare in MS64. A Gem, if available, would cost in excess of $100,000. For most collectors, this borderline Gem example would be a perfect representative of this design.