US Coins

Market Analysis: 1798 $5 coin shows evidence of a bend

A 1798 Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle, Large 8, 13 Stars Reverse $5 half eagle graded Extremely Fine Details, Bent by NGC sold for $5,160 at a January Heritage auction. Evidence of the bend is seen on the reverse, but the overall eye appeal is pleasant despite the problem.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. uses its Details grading to evaluate coins that do not meet the rigid standards for NGC’s numeric grading, which uses the Sheldon Scale of 1 to 70. If a coin does not qualify for numeric grading, its specific surface condition must be disclosed when describing its grade.

It explains, “Coins are not eligible for numeric grading at NGC when the particular feature being described cannot be accounted for by a point deduction or simple net grading. Any attempt to do so would be too subjective, as not everyone can agree on the relative significance of various surface conditions.”

One of the more self-evident terms used is “bent,” which reflects when a coin that shows a non-mint-made curvature when viewed on end. It’s a form of mechanical damage where metal is pushed out of place, leaving a permanent disfigurement of the subject coin.

A 1798 Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle, Large 8, 13 Stars Reverse gold $5 half eagle graded NGC Extremely Fine Details, Bent, shows evidence of the bending in the form of a straight line on the reverse.  The damage provided a budget-minded collector an opportunity to buy an example of this tougher variety from the 18th century for just $5,160 on Jan. 22 in a Heritage auction.

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