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HALF EAGLES

1830 Half Eagle, Small D

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1830 $5 Small D
PCGS AU58
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1830 $5 Half Eagle PCGS AU58. Small D (BD-2, R-5+). The 1830 half eagle is a very curious issue, which was largely influenced by massive gold melting in the mid 1830's, only a few years after this issue had been struck. It has a mintage of 126,351 coins, struck by two different varieties using the same obverse die but a different reverse. Combined, there are no more than 75 coins known of the 1830 half eagle, a miniscule 0.0006% of its original mintage. As can be imagined with such survival rates, as commonly seen for this type, this is a very rare issue which is seldom offered at auction or in fixed price lists.

The varieties have been differentiated by a number of researchers and one grading company (NGC), although it is not a separate red book variety, so demand is virtually equal for the date. It is believed that the small D is the more available variety, although this might be misleading as most examples which are offered at auction are examples of the large D variety. In case these two varieties get separated in the red book and recognized as being major varieties further study is required to determine the relative rarity of BD-1 and BD-2, but for now this does not appear to be happening soon.

The 1830 half eagle is an example which correctly would be called small capped bust, small size type. The design was designed by John Reich, and first struck on larger planchets in 1813. Because of the increasing value of gold, the Mint continued with the same design on smaller, lighter planchets on 1829, until altering the gold content completely in 1834. Because of that, the majority of the old tenor coins were melted, creating many rarities. It is believed that less than 1% of the total 1830 mintage was still existent by the end of that decade, and it is obvious that heavy attrition took its toll at later times as well.

Presently offered is a wholesome piece, graded by PCGS as AU-58 but which we think might upgrade to an uncirculated grade. While the fields, in particular the obverse shows moderate scuffing, this may not be taken with wear. There might be a few minor luster breaks on either side, but to us this coin looks just as good as any piece that has been graded MS-61. Frosty luster and khaki-gold color highlight this excellent coin, which has a strong strike with virtually no weakness noted on either side. A great and rare coin destined for a specialized collection of Capped Bust half eagles.

 

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