SOLD – $5.00 – 1834 Capped Bust, Crosslet 4 PCGS EF45

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SOLD – $5.00 – 1834 Capped Bust, Crosslet 4 PCGS EF45


Serial Number 8161.45/32633856

PCGS Lookup Number 8161

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BD-2, R-5.

The Capped Bust Left design, with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM on the reverse, was replaced by the Classic Head type partway through the year in 1834. The older style half eagles had an intrinsic value that was greater than their face value, resulting in mass hoarding and melting of the coins as soon as they were issued. To correct this situation and allow the coins to actually circulate, the Classic Head half eagles were of lighter weight and reduced gold content. The measure was a success, but it resulted in even more melting of the old-tenor gold pieces, making the 1834 a very scarce issue today.

According to Mint records, 50,141 Capped Bust Left half eagles were struck in the first part of the year, with four die varieties known for the date and type. Two varieties used a Plain 4 in the date and two used a Crosslet 4. This coin represents the BD-2 variety, with a Crosslet 4 and the lowest curl of Liberty’s hair open. The BD-2 has a small surviving population of 45-55 examples in all grades, but it is still the most available 1834 variety. It probably accounted for 20,000-25,000 pieces of the reported mintage. This was the only use of the obverse die, but the reverse was also used to coin the BD-3 variety of this date.

This issue tends to come either with damage (at least six to eight are known as such) or in Choice Uncirculated. The present example is unusual as it is choice for the grade and it is problem-free although noticeably worn. The strike is sharp at the centers but the radial lines on the stars are weak, given an unfair exaggeration of wear. There is plenty of remaining luster, the surfaces are choice with no serious marks and the eye appeal is excellent.

The only two comparable APR’s are for this coin; see below.

Unless you have six figures to spend on an Uncirculated 1834 Capped Bust half eagle, this is the best available quality for the date. This Fat Head half eagle is a legendary rarity which has been sought-after by collectors for well over a century.

Ex Heritage 6/13: 4762 ($42,594), Heritage 2008 ANA: 2971 ($51,750; as PCGS EF40)