Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle $5 Half Eagle
Great rarities abound in early half eagle series Early $5 half eagle coins extend from 1795 to 1834 and include five major types. The time frame also includes some of the greatest rarities in the entire U.S. coin series. Between 1795 and 1798 half eagles us...READ MORE
Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle $5 Half Eagle-
Great rarities abound in early half eagle series
Early $5 half eagle coins extend from 1795 to 1834 and include five major types. The time frame also includes some of the greatest rarities in the entire U.S. coin series. Between 1795 and 1798 half eagles use the Capped Bust, Small Eagle designs. There is an overlap in dates in which some design elements were used, with the Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle type dating from 1795 to 1807. The Capped Draped Bust design appears from 1807 to 1812, Capped Head on a large planchet from 1813 to 1829, and Capped Head on a small planchet from 1829 to 1834. The overlapping dates in which both the Capped Bust, Small Eagle and Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle designs were used between 1795 and 1798 may be due to emergency conditions under which additional coins were required to be struck in late 1798 using older dies. The mintages of the 18th century half eagles were remarkably small by today's standards. The highest mintage was 24,867 pieces produced in 1798. The highest mintage of any half eagle coin with the Capped Bust design, regardless of reverse, is 64,093 pieces for all varieties of the 1806 issue. The 1798 Capped Bust, Small Eagle half eagle is known from perhaps seven examples. John Reich redesigned the denomination for 1807, with the introduction of the Capped Draped Bust type. This design would continue in use through 1812. Mintages are higher, but still very small by today's standards. The highest mintage was 100,287 for all varieties of the 1810 issue. The 1810 Capped Draped Bust, Small Date, Small 5 half eagle and the 1810 Large Date, Small 5 $5 coin are each known from perhaps five pieces. Reich's design was modified in 1813 and is today called Capped Bust by collectors. The diameter of the coin was reduced during 1829, but the Capped Bust design was retained. The reduced design was modified by Mint Engraver William Kneass. The style would continue through 1834. Mintage figures may be helpful with these later Capped Bust half eagles, but they do not bear any direct relationship to the surviving numbers of coins of each date and variety. There are only three examples of the 1822 coin. In United States Gold Coins, An Analysis of Auction Records, Volume IV, Half Eagles 1795-1929
, David W. Akers says: “The legendary 1822 half eagle is the most famous and desirable U.S. gold coin. It traded hands at fantastic prices when other great rarities that are now worth six-figure prices were bringing mere pittances. There are three known specimens, two permanently impounded in the Smithsonian Institution. ...” The 1815 Capped Bust half eagle is another almost legendary rarity, believed to have a survival rate of 12 to 13 specimens. Akers says of this coin: “Without question, the 1815 half eagle is one of the most famous and desirable of all U.S. coins. A few other coins, even of this type, may be more rare, but with the exception of the 1822 half eagle, it is unlikely that any other U.S. gold coin is more desirable.” Akers' reference to other more rare coins may be addressing the 1825/4 Capped Bust, Evenly Spaced Date half eagle. This coin is now known from two examples. For many years it was believed the example in the Louis Eliasberg Collection was unique. The surviving half eagles from 1827 to 1834 are primarily in Uncirculated condition, an indication the coins may not have circulated very much. More great rarities exist in this area. Among these are the 1828/7 overdate, known from perhaps 10 to 12 specimens; the 1828, known from 12 to 15 pieces; and the 1829 Large Planchet variety, known from seven to eight examples. The Small Planchet coins have low survival rates also. The 1829 Small Planchet coin is known from perhaps 10 to 12 pieces; the 1832 Capped Bust, Curved Base 2, 12 Stars, Small Planchet variety is known from perhaps six examples; and of the 1832 Capped Bust, Square Base 2, 13 Stars, Small Planchet variety, perhaps 20 to 25 coins survive. No Mint marks appear on any of the half eagles struck between 1795 and 1834.
Capped Bust $5 half eagle
Date of authorization: April 2, 1792 Dates of issue: 1795-1807 Designer/Engraver: Robert Scot Diameter: 25.00 mm/0.99 inch Weight: 8.75 grams/0.28 ounce Metallic Content: 91.67% gold, 8.33% copper and silver Weight of pure gold: 8.02 grams/0.26 ounce Edge: Reeded Mint mark: None