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LIBERTY HEAD (NO MOTTO ON REVERSE) FIVE DOLLARS OR HALF EAGLE (1839-1866)
1839-C Half Eagle
Gobrecht’s LIBERTY HEAD (NO MOTTO ON REVERSE) FIVE DOLLARS OR HALF EAGLE: When Mint Engraver William Kneass was unable to resume his duties after a debilitating stroke, Christian Gobrecht was asked to do his work, which included making a new half eagle that would be uniform with the eagle. The Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle was minted from 1839 to 1866.

Gobrecht’s design for the Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle shows a left facing profile of Liberty wearing a LIBERTY inscribed coronet. Her hair is tied in the back and there are two loose curls that hang down her neck. Around the head are thirteen six-pointed stars, and the date is below the truncation. At the periphery of the coin are dentils. The Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle coin also has a reeded edge. The reverse of the Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle coin shows a heraldic eagle similar to the one on the Classic Head eagle. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the eagle, except for its wing tips, in an arc. The denomination is below, separated with dots, and written as FIVE D.

In the 1860’s the Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle was subjected to an unusual form of counterfeiting. Genuine gold coins were sawed in half edgewise and the gold was removed from the interiors. It was replaced by platinum discs of corresponding weight. A new edge was added to hide the change. The coins rang well, and had the proper weight and color. Although many solutions were proposed, the problem resolved itself when the market price of platinum exceeded that of gold. From time to time these altered coins appear. They are valuable today for their bullion content and, for some, as interesting curiosities.

The new variety of the half eagle was supposed to be minted in 1866 adding the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. However, 9,000 1866-S Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle coins were struck. Later in the year 34,920 1866-S Liberty Head (Motto on Reverse) half eagle coins were minted in San Francisco. Evidently the new dies were shipped to the mint in California, but they did not arrive before the old dies were used to make the No Motto coins.

Mintages of the Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle range from a high of 688,084 in 1861 to a tiny mintage of 268. In 1854, there was a shortage of acids needed to separate the silver from gold at the San Francisco Mint; consequently, the output was severely limited. The 1854-S half eagle is so rare that NGC has certified only one coin and PCGS has none. Because of the rarity of this coin, it is virtually impossible to complete a full date and mint set of Liberty Head (No Motto on Reverse) half eagle coins. The next lowest mintage is the 1865 with a mintage of 1,270. Both grading services show 48 coins certified for 1865, which does not account for resubmissions and crossovers.

Specifications:
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 8.359 grams (129.0 grains) (.2687 troy ounces)
Diameter: 22.5 millimeters (1839-1840); 21.6 millimeters (1840-1908)
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Gold Content: 7.523 grams (116.097 grains) (0.2418 troy ounces)

DATE NOTES
1839 Half Eagle
Most specimens are found in AU grades. Rare above MS63. None have been certified in Gem or better condition. Only 3 proofs are known.
1839-C Half Eagle
Mintmark on obverse. Rare in Mint State with only 21 certified by both grading services in MS60 and above. Finest are 2 MS64s.
1839-D Half Eagle
Mintmark on obverse. Rare in AU. Extremely rare in Mint State with only 11 certified by both grading services. Finest are 5 MS62s.
1840 Half Eagle
Two varieties: broad and narrow rim or broad and narrow mill. Broad mill is rarer. All are rare above MS61. Finest is a single MS66.
1840-C Half Eagle
Mintmark on reverse. Usually found in circulated condition. Only 9 certified in Mint State. Finest are 3 MS64s.
1840-D Half Eagle
Found with Tall and Short D varieties. Only 18 certified in Mint State. Finest is a single MS62.
1840-O Half Eagle
Known with broad and narrow mills. Broad mill is rarer. Only 28 certified in Mint State. Finest is a single MS65.
1841 Half Eagle
A rare date, but an unusually high number certified in MS64 with 19. Finest are 2 MS65s. Only 1 proof has been certified in PF63.
1841-C Half Eagle
Usually seen in XF to AU condition. Only 13 certified in Mint State. Finest is a single MS64.
1841-D Half Eagle
Two varieties: Small and Tall D. Small D is rarer. Usually found VF to XF. Only 27 certified in Mint State. Finest are 2 MS65s.
1841-O Half Eagle
None has ever been seen!
1842 Half Eagle
Found with Small and Large letters on the reverse. Small Letters are scarce. Only 12 certified in Mint State. Finest are 2 MS66s. Only 1 proof has been certified in PF64. It is a Small Letters variety.
1842-C Half Eagle
Found with Small and Large Dates. The Small Date is rarer with less than 100 known. Only 7 Small Dates are certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS63+. 17 Large Dates are certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS65.
1842-D Half Eagle
Found with Small and Large Dates. The Large Date is rarer with less than 100 known. Only 2 have been certified in Mint State both MS61. 16 Small Dates are certified in Mint State. The finest are 8 in MS62.
1842-O Half Eagle
Usually found XF to AU. Less than 100 are known. Only 3 have been certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS63.
1843 Half Eagle
This is the second most common date in the 1840s. Rare above MS63. The finest is a single MS65. Approximately 4 proofs are known. The finest is a PFUC66.
1843-C Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF grades. 26 have been certified Mint State. The finest are 4 in MS64. Also seen with a very rare Large Diameter.
1843-D Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF grades. 30 have been certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS64. Also seen with a very rare Small D.
1843-O Half Eagle
Found with Small and Large Letters. The Small Letters is rarer. Only 8 Small Letters have been certified in Mint State. The finest are 2 MS65s.
1844 Half Eagle
Somewhat scarce. Rare above MS63. The finest is a single MS65. Only 1 proof has been certified for this date, a PFCA64.
1844-C Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. 14 have been certified in Mint State. The finest are 4 MS63s.
1844-D Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to AU condition. 33 have been certified in Mint State. The finest are 2 MS64s.
1844-O Half Eagle
Second highest New Orleans mintage. Usually found in XF to AU condition. Rare above MS63. Finest is a single MS65.
1845 Half Eagle
Can be found in most grades; however, none have been certified above MS64. Only 5 proofs have been certified, the finest is a PFUC66.
1845-D Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to AU condition. Rare above MS61. Finest is a single MS65.
1845-O Half Eagle
Rare in Mint State with only 21 certified. Finest are 4 in MS63.
1846 Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. Comes with Small or Large Dates. Small Date is rarer. Rare above MS62. Finest are 7 MS64s. Only 1 proof has been certified; it is a PFCA64.
1846-C Half Eagle
Rare in all grades. Only 13 certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS65.
1846-D Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. One reverse variety has an obvious D/D mintmark. The normal mintmark variety is rarer with only 9 certified in Mint State. The finest are 2 in MS62. The D/D has 21 certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS65.
1846-O Half Eagle
1846-O Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. Rare in all Mint State grades with only 13 certified by both services. The finest is a single MS63.
1847 Half Eagle
Most common date of the type. Also seen with 2 overdates, 18/18 and 1847/7. Rare above MS64. Finest known are 2 in MS66. Only 1 proof is known, and it is in the Smithsonian.
1847-C Half Eagle
Highest Charlotte Mint mintage. Usually found in VF to XF condition. 30 have been certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS65.
1847-D Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. 28 have been certified in Mint State. The finest are 5 in MS63.
1847-O Half Eagle
Only about 55 are known in all grades; it is the rarest from the New Orleans Mint. Only 1 in Mint State in MS61.
1848 Half Eagle
Rare in higher Mint State grades. 5 certified in MS64. Finest is a single MS65. Pieces found in shipwrecks S.S. Brother Jonathan and S.S. Central America. Only 2 proofs are known. One is in the Smithsonian and the other is certified PRCA63.
1848-C Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. Only 11 certified in Mint State. The finest are 2 MS64s.
1848-D Half Eagle
Usually found in low grades. Only 13 certified in Mint State. The finest are 3 MS63s. One reverse variety has a D/D mintmark, which is very rare.
1849 Half Eagle
Rare above MS61. The finest is a single MS63. Also seen with an overdate, 1849/49. Only 28 of these have been certified in all grades. The finest is a single MS64. No proofs are known.
1849-C Half Eagle
Usually found well struck for a Charlotte Mint issue. Rare above MS61. The finest is a single MS66.
1849-D Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. Rare in Mint State with only 14 certified. The finest is a single MS63.
1850 Half Eagle
Usually found in low grades. Rare in Mint State with only 14 certified. The finest are 2 in MS65. No proofs are known.
1850-C Half Eagle
A fairly common date for the Charlotte Mint. Usually found in VF to XF condition. 36 have been graded in Mint State condition. The finest are 8 in MS64.
1850-D Half Eagle
Rare in all grades. Only 6 have been graded in Mint State of which 5 are the finest at MS61.
1851 Half Eagle
Usually found in XF to AU condition. Rare above MS63. The finest are 2 in MS65. No proofs are known.
1851-C Half Eagle
Usually seen in low grades with only 17 certified in Mint State. The finest are 2 in MS64.
1851-D Half Eagle
Usually in low grades. Rare above XF with only 15 certified in Mint State. The finest are 2 in MS63.
1851-O Half Eagle
Usually found in circulated grades; only 8 certified in Mint State. The finest is a single MS64
1852 Half Eagle
Rare above MS63. The finest are 2 certified in MS66. No proofs are known.
1852-C Half Eagle
Usually weakly struck in centers. Often seen in VF to AU grades. Rare above MS62. The finest is a single MS65.
1852-D Half Eagle
Most found in XF to AU grades. Rare above MS61. The finest certified are 5 in MS63.
1853 Half Eagle
Available in grades up to MS62. Only 19 pieces certified above MS62 by both services. The finest is a single MS66. No proofs are known.
1853-C Half Eagle
Usually available in XF to AU grades. Rare in Mint State. The finest certified are 4 in MS64.
1853-D Half Eagle
Usually boldly struck with weakness in various spots. Rare above MS61. The finest certified are 4 in MS64.
1854 Half Eagle
Usually found in XF to AU condition. Rare in grades above MS62. The large number certified in MS64, 54, is no doubt a result of resubmission to achieve a Gem grade. So far none have been successful. A doubled die obverse shows doubling on Liberty’s ear and is sometimes called the “Earring Variety.” No proofs are known, but 1 may exist as part of a set given to the city of Bremen, Germany in 1854.
1854-C Half Eagle
Usually found in circulated condition below XF; rare in Mint State grades. The finest certified is a single MS64. Found with strong and weak mintmarks.
1854-D Half Eagle
Rare in grades above MS62. The finest certified is a single MS67. Found with strong and weak mintmarks.
1854-O Half Eagle
Exceedingly rare in Mint State. Only 20 have been certified in all MS grades, the finest are 4 in MS63.
1854-S Half Eagle
An extreme rarity! Only 3 are known to exist. There is only 1 certified, and it is an AU58 by NGC. This coin is included in 100 Greatest U.S. Coins by Garrett and Guth.
1855 Half Eagle
Common date in lower circulated grades. Rare in Mint State. 11 have been certified in MS64 with none higher. No proofs are known.
1855-C Half Eagle
Usually with some strike weakness. Scarce in XF to AU condition. Rare in Mint State. The finest certified is a single MS65.
1855-D Half Eagle
Always softly struck in the center of the obverse and on the eagle’s neck. Usually found in XF to AU condition. Only 8 have been certified Mint State by both services. The finest certified is a single MS64. Found with Large and Medium D’s. The Medium D is rarer.
1855-O Half Eagle
Very rare in all grades. Exceedingly rare in Mint State with 7 certified by both services, the finest of which are 5 in MS61.
1855-S Half Eagle
Very rare in all grades. Prohibitively rare in Mint State with just 4 certified, the finest of which is a single MS62.
1856 Half Eagle
Usually found in circulated condition struck with soft centers; rare above MS62. The finest certified are 4 in MS65. No proofs are known.
1856-C Half Eagle
Scarce in all grades; rare above MS61 with the finest certified a single MS63.
1856-C $5 PCGS XF45
1856-D Half Eagle
Often seen struck with soft centers; rare above MS62 with the finest certified a single MS65.
1856-O Half Eagle
Low mintage; rare in all grades with only 7 certified in Mint State. The finest certified is a single MS62.
1856-S Half Eagle
Rare in Mint State with only 12 certified by both services. The highest certified is a single MS64.
1857 Half Eagle
Scarce in all grades; rare above MS63. The highest certified are 5 in MS64. Only 2 proofs are known, 1 of which is certified PFUC65.
1857-C Half Eagle
Usually found in XF to AU condition. Rare in Mint State above MS61. The highest certified is a single MS65.
1857-D Half Eagle

Often softly struck in centers. Usually found in VF to XF condition. The highest certified are 4 in MS63.

1857-O Half Eagle
This is the last No Motto date from New Orleans. Usually found in circulated condition. Very rare in Mint State with only 6 coins certified in Mint State, the finest of which is a single MS63.
1857-S Half Eagle
Usually found in circulated condition. Only 16 certified in Mint State, the finest of which are 3 MS64s. Several examples found on the S.S. Central America.
1858 Half Eagle
Usually well struck but most often found in circulated condition. Rare in Mint State with the finest certified a single MS66. Only 5 proofs have been certified, the finest a single PFUC67.
1858-C Half Eagle
Usually found in XF to AU condition. Scarce in Mint State. The finest certified is a single MS64.
1858-D Half Eagle
Usually found in XF to AU condition. Rare in Mint State with 19 certified in Mint State by both services. The finest is a single MS65.
1858-S Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades. Only 1, an MS61 has been certified in Mint State.
1859 Half Eagle
Usually found in XF to AU condition. Rare in Mint State with 7 certified in Mint State by both services, 6 of which are the finest in MS62. Approximately 9 proofs are known with 7 certified. The finest is a single PFUC66.
1859-C Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition. Rare in Mint State with 19 certified in Mint State by both services. The finest is a single MS66.
1859-D Half Eagle
Usually found in VF to XF condition with soft strikes in the centers. Rare in Mint State. The finest is a single MS65.
1859-S Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades. They are often well struck but heavily circulated. The finest certified are 3 in MS63.
1860 Half Eagle
Scarce in all dates; rare in Mint State with only 9 graded by both services, the highest of which is a single MS65. Approximately 11 proofs are known. Only 6 have been certified. The finest is a single PFCA66.
1860-C Half Eagle
Usually found in circulated condition and with poorly struck reverse. Rare in MS grades above MS61; the finest certified are two MS64s.
1860-D Half Eagle
Usually found in XF to AU condition, often with weak centers. Rare in grades above MS61; the finest certified are 3 MS64s. There are Medium and Large D’s. The Large D is rarer.
1860-S Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades. Only 2 have been certified in Mint State, an MS61 and an MS62.
1861 Half Eagle
This is the most common date of the type, but it is always in demand because of its Civil War date. Rare above MS64; the finest certified are 3 in MS66. Approximately 9 proofs are known. Only 3 have been certified, the finest is a single PFCA66.
1861-C Half Eagle
Low mintage date including CSA output.. Very rare in Mint State with only 9 certified, the finest of which are 2 in MS63.
1861-D Half Eagle
Only 80 to 85 are known to exist in all grades. Usually seen in circulated XF grades. Very rare in Mint State with only 11 certified in all grades, the finest of which is a single MS64 example.
1861-S Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades with none certified in Mint State. The finest certified are 7 AU58 examples.
1862 Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades with only 2 certified in Mint State. Both examples are MS62s. Approximately 13 proofs are known, of which 12 have been certified. The finest is a PFUC66.
1862-S Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades with only 3 certified in Mint State, 2 at the MS61 level and 1 in MS62.
1863 Half Eagle
Extremely rare. Approximately 35 are known in all grades with 2 certified in Mint State, an MS60 and an MS61. Approximately 13 proofs are known. Only 9 have been certified. The finest is a PFUC66.
1863-S Half Eagle
Approximately 65 are known in all grades with 1 certified in Mint State, an MS61.
1864 Half Eagle
Approximately 65 are known in all grades with 6 certified in Mint State, 5 of which are MS61s. Approximately 20 proofs are known. Only 31 have been certified. The finest is a single PFUC68.
1864-S Half Eagle
Usually seen in VF or lower. Approximately 25 are known in all grades with only 1 Mint State example, an MS65.
1865 Half Eagle
Approximately 35 are known in all grades with 5 certified in Mint State, the finest of which are 3 in MS61. Approximately 18 proofs are known with 24 certified. The finest is a single PFCA67.
1865-S Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades with 6 certified in Mint State, the finest of which is a single MS64 example.
1866-S Half Eagle
Fewer than 100 are known to exist in all grades with 0 certified in Mint State. The finest certified are 7 in AU58.
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