SOLD – $5.00 – 1843-O Large Letters NGC MS64+ CAC

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SOLD – $5.00 – 1843-O Large Letters NGC MS64+ CAC


Serial Number 3659735-001

PCGS Lookup Number 8216

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As even the most casual collector can surmise, very high grade No Motto New Orleans half eagles are exceptionally rare. I can think of just three or four MS65 examples of all the dates in total; this includes an NGC MS65 1840-O, an 1843-O Small Letters (graded MS65 by both services), an 1843-O Large Letters graded by NGC and an 1844-O graded by PCGS which is from the Bass collection. After these four distinct Gems, there are another six to eight New Orleans half eagles of various dates which grade MS64.

This fresh-to-the-market was recently purchased raw by me from an old non-collector accumulation of U.S. gold coins and it has never been offered for sale until now. It is a remarkable coin which, to be honest, I felt had a shot at grading a full MS65 on account of its screaming luster, fully natural fiery orange-gold color and its overall exceptional eye appeal. The strike is very slightly fuzzy at the central obverse as is the case on most 1843-O Large Letters half eagles while the reverse is sharp with full definition on the lettering and at the center. It is hard to choose a single best feature on this exceptional coin but I’m going to vote its coloration, especially on the obverse where it is contrasted by deep edge toning. A few slight scuffs in the fields are probably the reason this coin wasn’t graded MS65 by NGC but this coin still rates as one of the single finest New Orleans half eagles of any date or denomination which I have seen.

The single highest graded example of this variety is an NGC MS65 which is a coin which was upgraded from MS64. Heritage 10/11: 4898, graded MS64 by NGC and approved by CAC, sold for $29,900 and this represents the most recent auction comparable. An 1843-O Small Letters in NGC MS64 (a slightly scarcer issue overall than the Large Letters but comparable in high grades) sold for $48,875 as Stacks Bowers 3/09: 5893 and a full MS65 example of the 1843-O Small Letters sold for $69,000 in Heritage’s April 2008 auction.

This is an amazing coin which represents an exceptional opportunity for the New Orleans specialist, the Liberty Head half eagle collector or the generalist who just likes one-of-a-kind gold rarities.

CAC has approved three in this grade with none finer; the other two are “regular” MS64 coins without the plus modifier assigned by NGC.