US Coins

Market Analysis: Old 'crusty' gold a good thing?

The term “crusty” might be used as a positive adjective to describe this 1795 Capped Bust Right, Small Eagle gold $5 half eagle graded Extremely Fine 40 with a green CAC sticker that brought $50,400 on May 5.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The gold $5 half eagle denomination was first struck in 1795 at the Philadelphia Mint, featuring a Small Eagle reverse that was used on the type for several years. Examples of the 1795 issues are scarce today, with a low mintage of 8,707.

Few are as appealing as this 1795 Capped Bust, Small Eagle half eagle graded Extremely Fine 40 by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green Certified Acceptance Co. sticker.

Despite the low mintage, multiple die pairs were used to strike the issue, and this is a bold representative of the BD-3 die marriage. Of the 12 marriages listed in the book Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties by John Dannreuther and Harry W. Bass Jr., the BD-3 variety is the most common; the authors estimate up to 200 survivors.

The illustrated piece features desirable original “crusty” surfaces, with luster in the protected areas. Heritage wrote, “The ruby-red, orange-gold, and navy-blue toning is original, moderate, and attractive.”

It realized $50,400 on May 5.

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