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1838-D Classic Head Half Eagle Obverse      1838-D Classic Head Half Eagle Reverse


1838-D FIVE DOLLARS
OR HALF EAGLE

PCGS No: 8178

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: 20,583
Proofs: 0

Designer: William Kneass

Diameter: 23.8 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Copper - 10%

Weight: 129 grains (8.24 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark:  "D" (for Dahlonega, Georgia) above the date

Images courtesy of Hancock & Harwell Rare Coins

Notes:
The first real Gold Rush in America took place not in California in 1848 but in Georgia and North Carolina in the early 1830's.  In fact, so much gold was discovered in these two states that the U.S. government decided to locate two new Mints there - one in Dahlonega, Georgia and another in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The 1838-D Half Eagle was one of the first coins produced at Dahlonega, it's the only Classic Head $5 from this Mint, and it has the second lowest mintage of any Classic Head $5.

The finest example graded by PCGS is a single MS-63.

Significant examples:
PCGS MS-62 (illustrated above).  Ex - the "Duke's Creek" collection of Southern Gold coins (as of October 20, 1999).

Recent appearances:
NGC MS-63.  Ex - Chestatee Collection (Heritage 08/1999: 7665, $20,700); Royalty Coins (Jack Copeland); Ashland City Collection (Heritage 01/2003: 4727, $36,800) - Heritage 01/2004: 9009, $28,750.00, Variety 1-A, McCloskey 1-A, R.3

PCGS MS-62.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7229, illustrated, sold for $21,850.00

PCGS MS-61 (illustrated below).  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 893, sold for $16,675.00, plated, where it was described (in part) as follows: "Bright yellow-gold in color and boldly struck throughout. The dies appear to have been lapped when this one was coined, as Liberty's forecurl is a single disconnected lump, and the left claws of the eagle show pitiful definition. There is also a light die crack through the tops of MERICA on the reverse. Only 20,583 were struck, of these perhaps 10 are known in the lower mint state grades. The NGC and PCGS combined Population Reports tell us the following for the date: in MS-60, 1 coin; MS-61, 3 coins; MS-62, 8 coins. We strongly suspect that single coins are represented multiple times as every grade point can mean thousands of dollars in value, giving people tremendous incentive to crack out and resubmit coins multiple times. It is very probable, therefore, that the actual number may be only one-half or less of those reported, and further research will have to be done to actually identify each coin, rather than just the population numbers. We do note, that none have been graded as MS-63 or higher, yet. Color photo."

PCGS EF-45.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003, Lot 701, illustrated, sold for $6,440.00  Ex - From Auctions by Bowers and Merena, Inc.'s sale of May 1998, Lot 1324.

PCGS AU-50.  Heritage 01/2004: 9008, $5,750.00, Variety 1-A, McCloskey 1-A, R.3

AU-50, Cleaned.   Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5680, illustrated, sold for $4,600.00

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

Obverse of 1838-D Classic Head Half Eagle     Reverse of 1838-D Classic Head Half Eagle

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.