SOLD- $5.00 – 1866 Motto PCGS AU53 CAC

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SOLD- $5.00 – 1866 Motto PCGS AU53 CAC


Serial Number 8311.53/25601039

PCGS Lookup Number 8311

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The 1866 is numismatically significant as the first year in which the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse of the half eagle. Only 6,700 business strikes were made of which an estimated 75 are known today. This date is not often seen above EF grades and of the dozen or so which exist in About Uncirculated, many are dipped and/or extensively abraded. There are just three known in Uncirculated and I sold the finest of these (PCGS/CAC MS62) to a collector in 2014.

I bought this and a few other gold coins from a foreign dealer at the 2015 ANA. He told me that his customer purchased them from a Stack’s sale in the 1960′s and that they had been off the market since then. The quality of this coin is superb for the date and grade. It is totally original with attractive deep russet toning with some underlying splashes of rose. There are scattered light abrasions in the fields which limit the grade but I could see this coin outclassing virtually all the other 1866 half eagles in AU55 holders.

No AU53 example has sold at auction since early 2007. In January 2013, Heritage sold an NGC AU55 for $4,700 which was far less choice and original as the currently offered piece.

There are numerous rare, undervalued Philadelphia half eagles from this era but the 1866 has the potential to have multiple levels of demand due to its first-year-of-issue status.

CAC has approved three in this grade with four finer.