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Obverse of 1839 Eagle - Small Letters Reverse     Reverse of 1839 Eagle - Small Letters Reverse


PCGS No: 8576, 8771


Circulation strikes: 38,248
Proofs: estimated 4

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: ±26.8 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Other - 10% 

Weight: ±258 grains (±16.7 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia, PA) below the eagle on the reverse

Images courtesy of David Akers Numismatics, Inc.

Type of 1838: Large Letters on Reverse (illustrated below)
Type of 1840: Small Letters on Reverse (illustrated above)

The 1839 Eagle is found in two major varieties: Head of 1838 and Head of 1840.  The 1839 “Head of 1838” is actually an overdate, created when a 9 was punched over the final 8 of a leftover 1838 dated working die.  The Head of 1838 is distinctly different from those of later years and should actually be listed as a separate sub-Type.  The most obvious differences can be seen in the shape of the bust and the arc of the truncation line.  One the “Head of 1838”, the tip of the bust is more rounded in appearance and the truncation line has a high arch.  On the “Head of 1840” (which first appeared in 1839), the tip of the bust is less rounded and the arc of the truncation line is flatter.  The finest 1839 Eagle graded by PCGS is a single MS-66.  The finest example graded by NGC is a single MS-64.

Proof 1839 Eagles are extreme rarities.  PCGS has graded only 1 example, a single Proof-60.  NGC has graded 2 Proof examples, both Proof-67 Ultra Cameo and both ex-Eliasberg (since Eliasberg had only one example, these are clearly duplicate submissions of the same coin).

Significant examples:
See individual varieties

Recent appearances:
See individual varieties

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"The NGC Census Report, April 2003" by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation

Obverse of 1839 Eagle     Reverse of 1839 Eagle

Images courtesy of Superior Stamp & Coin
  Ex - Superior Stamp & Coin's 2000 ANA Mid-Winter Sale
Note the rotation of the head relative to the date and compare with the coin illustrated above