1809/8 Half Eagle $5 (BD-1, R-3+) NGC MS63. Only
one variety is known to have been used to strike an
estimated 33,875 half eagles dated 1809. It uses an
obverse die which some researchers believe had previously
been dated 1808, but was not used and overdated to
1809 before being put into service. The reverse was
earlier used on one 1808 variety, and was discontinued
after striking the 1809 dated half eagles. Despite
its common status as an overdate, some researchers
believe that the last digit is not a nine over eight,
but only a repunched eight. Both possibilities are
plausible, but the true status remains uncertain.
Within the capped bust left series of half eagles,
the 1809/8 is considered to be the scarcest date,
with perhaps less than 300 examples known in all grades.
Only an extreme small number would be graded in mint
state, and especially in gem this is a very rare issue.
A coin graded MS-63, such as the present specimen
can certainly not be called “available’,
as offerings are very scarce and every offering of
a premium uncirculated piece should be considered
with great care. Some researchers believe that the
mintage might have been much lower than the 33,875
that is quoted in the red book and other references,
and from the number of pieces known we tend to believe
Despite its uncertain status as an overdate it is
listed as that in nearly every reference, making it
a popular coin which is always in demand in all grades.
The coin we presently offer is highlighted by pristine
surfaces, satiny luster and a remarkable strong strike.
Wholesome orange to ton gold color is seen on both
sides, toned slightly darker in the protected areas.
The undisturbed luster confirms its status as a true
uncirculated coin, with no wear visible on any of
the high points of the design. Some scattered marks
in front of Liberty’s face presumably are the
only reason that keeps it out of a higher grade holder,
and they are barely noticeable with the naked eye.
In all, this is a great coin and rare offering which
is destined to move fast. This coin has been certified
by NGC in a new holder.
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