1839/8 Coronet eagle offers value at Rarities Auction: Market Analysis

Affordable item sold at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s sale
By , Coin World
Published : 10/23/15
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On Oct. 1, Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s held a Rarities Auction consisting of 135 lots of coins and other numismatic items that totaled $2,993,230. Gold coins led the sale, but another highlight was a classic bronze United States Diplomatic Medal by Augustin Dupré from the Cardinal Educational Foundation Collection that realized $188,000. After the sale Stack’s Bowers president Brian Kendrella said, “The Pogue Collection sale the prior evening brought in some new faces, who also participated in the Rarities Auction, and we were thrilled to welcome them.” 

The Coin 
1839/8 Coronet, Old Portrait, Large Letters, gold $10 eagle, AU-55

The Price

The Story 
In 1839 two obverse types of Coronet gold $10 eagles were produced. One featured the head that was used in 1838 and on some 1839 $10 eagles, and the other utilized the familiar positioning that was used on later issues.

More often called the “Type of 1838,” the first issues were struck with the head placed to the right of the date, the date appearing below the left side of the portrait. On later issues, the bust was centered over the date. Using the term Large Letters versus Small Letters to characterize the old and new portraits is a bit of a misnomer, since the letters LIBERTY on the obverse are nearly the same size on both types. 

It’s considered an advanced type for a type set, as it does look visually different, and examples in Mint State are rare, making About Uncirculated survivors coveted. A PCGS AU-55 1839/8 Coronet, Type of 1838 eagle sold for $9,400 at the Oct. 1 auction.

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