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1889 Liberty Head Half Eagle Obverse     1889 Liberty Head Half Eagle Reverse
 


1889 FIVE DOLLARS
OR HALF EAGLE

PCGS Nos: 8374, 8484

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: 7,520
Proofs: 45

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: 21.65 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Other - 10%

Weight: 129 grains (8.24 grams)

Edge: Reeded

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

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

Notes:
Despite it's low mintage, the 1889 Half Eagle is fairly easy to obtain in circulated grades.  The most commonly seen grade is About Uncirculated.  In Uncirculated grades, this date becomes scarce and anything above MS-63 is a great rarity.  The finest Uncirculated example graded by PCGS is a single MS-67.

The finest Proof examples graded by PCGS are 6 PR-64's.

Significant examples:
Proof (illustrated above).  Ex - Trompeter collection.

PCGS Proof-64.  Ex - Stack's sale of the Scanlon Collection, October 1973, Lot 2368 - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 554, illustrated, sold for $14,950.00  Tied for finest graded by PCGS

PCGS Proof-66.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 7666, illustrated, sold for $12,650.00  From the Violet Bancroft Collection

PCGS MS-67.  Ex - Goliad Corporation, November 3, 1971 - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part II Sale", October, 1999, Lot 1254, where it sold for $26,450 - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 9012, illustrated, unsold

Recent appearances:
NGC Proof-64 (illustrated below).  Offered at the October 2001 Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Exposition by Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries for $11,000.00

PCGS AU-55.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 9011, not illustrated, sold for $488.75

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 1889 Half Eagle     Reverse of 1889 Half Eagle

Images courtesy of Ron Guth