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Obverse of 1834 Classic Head Half Eagle     Reverse of 1834 Classic Head Half Eagle


1834 CLASSIC HEAD
FIVE DOLLARS OR HALF EAGLE
(see also 1834 Capped Bust Half Eagle)

PCGS Nos: 8171, 8172, 8180

Mintage:
Circulation strikes: 658,028
Proofs: estimated 10-15

Designer: William Kneass

Diameter: 23.8 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 89.9%
Copper - 10.1%

Weight: 129 grains (8.24 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia) above the date
   

Images courtesy of David Akers Numismatics, Inc.

Varieties:
Large, Plain 4
Small, Plain 4
Crosslet 4 

Significant examples:
NGC Proof-65.  Ex - King of Siam Set

Proof.  Ex - B. Max Mehl's Golden Jubilee Sale of the Jerome Kern collection, May 1950, Lot 365 sold for $72.50 - David Akers Numismatics, Inc.'s sale of the John Jay Pittman collection, Part One, October 21-23, 1997, Lot 934, "Proof...numerous light hairlines, abrasions and even scratches, the latter particularly evident in the reverse field".

Recent appearances:
NGC MS-64.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7222, "Plain 4", not illustrated, not sold

PCGS MS-64.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7221, "Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $11,500.00

PCGS MS-64.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 328, "No Motto, Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $12,650.00   Purchased from Don Quiggins, November 4, 1972

NGC MS-64.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 1354, "Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $7,475.00

NGC MS-63 (illustrated below).  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 890, sold for $4,830.00, plated, "Struck from lapped dies, without a berry and with a faint die crack from the tips of each wing of the eagle to the rim. Identifiable by a bagmark on the lower part of the first T of STATES."

PCGS MS-63.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part III", May 21, 2001, Lot 214, illustrated, sold for $7,590.00

PCGS MS-62.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7220, "Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $3,680.00

NGC MS-62.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 7592, "Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $3,220.00

Net MS-60, sharpness of MS-63, scratched.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 329, "No Motto, Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $1,035.00  Purchased from "Flickinger," May 10, 1972

NGC MS-60.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 507, "Breen-6501, Large Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $1,840.00

Brilliant Uncirculated with lovely reflective surfaces.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 1733, "Plain 4", plated, sold for $2,530.00

PCGS AU-58.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7218, "Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $1,437.50

NGC AU-58.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7219, "Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $1,207.50

AU-58.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 325, "No Motto, Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $747.50  Purchased from RARCOA, May 18, 1972

NGC AU-58.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8944, "Plain 4", not plated, sold for $1,380.00  From the Clyde Godfrey Collection

 NGC AU-55.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8943, "Plain 4", not plated, sold for $718.75

PCGS AU-55.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 1355, "Plain 4", illustrated, sold for $1,438.00

AU-53.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 330, "No Motto, Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $575.00  From Stack's ANA Sale, August 1971, Lot 2142

Choice About Uncirculated.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 1546, Plain 4", sold for $1,322.00

AU-50.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 326, "No Motto, Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $833.75  From Quality Sales Corporation's sale of the John Beck Collection, January 1975, Lot 408

NGC AU-50.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "The ANA 2001 National Money Show Auction", March 8-9, 2001, Lot 809, "No Motto, Plain 4", unsold

A pleasing About Uncirculated.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 1734, "Plain 4, Breen II-8", plated, sold for $661.25

PCGS EF-45.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 7591, "Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $414.00

PCGS EF-40.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7217, "Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $391.00

Ef-40.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part III", May 21, 2001, Lot 215, "Plain 4", not illustrated, sold for $414.00

Extremely Fine.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 1547, "Plain 4", sold for $546.25

Extremely Fine.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 1098, "Plain 4", not plated, sold for $345.00

Extremely Fine.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 1099, "Plain 4", not plated, sold for $184.00

Fine-12.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 7107, not illustrated, sold for $230.00

Notes:
In the Pittman sale catalogue (Part One), David Akers recounted John McCloskey's assertion that there are nine varieties of the 1834 Classic Head Half Eagle.  Proofs are extremely rare (perhaps 10-15) and appear to be made up of two different varieties themselves.

The finest Uncirculated "Plain 4" example  graded by PCGS is a single MS-66.

The finest Uncirculated "Crosslet 4" examples graded by PCGS are 2 MS-63's.

The finest Proof "Plain 4" example graded by PCGS is a single PR-63.

The finest Proof Cameo "Plain 4" example graded by PCGS is a single PRCA-61.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia Of U.S. And Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"NGC Slabs Siam Set," Numismatic News, July 17, 2001, page 1

Obverse of 1834 Classic Head Half Eagle     Reverse of 1834 Classic Head Half Eagle

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles