US Coins

Market Analysis: Two 1796/5 Capped Bust $5 half eagles

Two handsome 1796/5 Capped Bust, Small Eagle gold $5 half eagles, one graded Very Good 10 and another AU-50 with gold CAC sticker sold for $24,000 and $93,000, respectively, in recent auctions.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The entire reported production of 6,196 1796/5 Capped Bust, Small Eagle gold $5 half eagles were struck from a single die pair — a leftover obverse die from 1795 with its date altered by punching a 6 over the 5 and the reverse die that struck the BD-12 variety of the 1795 issues.

Some believe that many of the coins included in that 1796 mintage were dated 1795. Optimistically, no more than 100 1796-dated half eagles survive today in varying grades.

At the lower end of the grade scale is a Professional Coin Grading Service-graded Very Good 10 “collector grade” example of the date, with some details remaining and a few Mint-made planchet adjustment marks on the obverse that sold for $24,000 at Heritage on May 5.

Finer was another example of the date, graded About Uncirculated 50 by Numismatic Guaranty Co. in an earlier NGC holder, with a Certified Acceptance Corp. gold sticker recognizing exceptional quality in the grade that realized $93,000 on Feb. 24. The gold CAC sticker recognizes the very conservative grading for many early U.S. gold coins in the early years of third-party grading.

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