KNOWN 1846-O HALF EAGLE $5 NGC MS63 - ELIASBERG COLLECTION
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KNOWN 1846-O HALF EAGLE $5 NGC MS63 - ELIASBERG COLLECTION
Presenting the Finest Known
1846-O Half Eagle that also comes with the provenance
of the famous Eliasberg Collection and is the finest
known at both NGC and PCGS. This is a one of a kind
rarity, that would be a great addition to the finest
of New Orleans gold coin collections, a foundational
rarity for a gold or Southern gold type set, a huge
addition to a box of twenty investment coins and a
solid investment coin that cannot be duplicated no
matter the price. Please contact me by email
or telephone 1-800-624-1870
to reserve this great coin.
1846-O $5 NGC MS63. Here is a Choice
Mint State, rare 1846-O Half Eagle that comes with
the provenance of the famous Eliasberg Collection
and is the finest known at both NGC and PCGS. The
coin has light yellow-gold devices that stand against
a slightly darker background creating an almost cameo
effect. The surfaces are completely original and clean
with no notable abrasion marks or other distractions.
Just a couple of very tiny, copper spots, mentioned
for the sake of accuracy, serve to help identify the
coin. The strike is superb with full details on Liberty’s
hair, the centers of the stars, the eagle’s
neck, and the area to the lower left of the shield.
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 half eagle with no motto was
minted from 1839 to 1866.
Gobrecht’s design 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 coin
also has a reeded edge. The reverse shows a heraldic
eagle similar to the one on the Classic Head half
eagle except that the eagle is smaller and its neck
is not bent so aggressively. 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. The mintmark
is on the reverse below the eagle and above the denomination.
The New Orleans Mint was authorized in 1835 by President
Andrew Jackson, hero of the battle of New Orleans. The
bill that Jackson signed also authorized the mints at
Charlotte and Dahlonega. William Strickland, a Philadelphia
architect designed all three branch mint buildings.
The New Orleans Mint building was made in the solid,
bulky Greek Revival style of architecture. It was the
largest of the three branch mints and located at major
port of entry. Unfortunately Strickland did not account
for the soft ground around the site. Because of it,
the building had to undergo numerous repairs throughout
Authorized to produce gold and silver, the New Orleans
Mint struck quarter eagles and dimes in 1839. It operated
from 1838 to 1909. In that time period 427 million
silver and gold coins with the O mintmark were coined.
By the mid 1850’s denominations made in New
Orleans included three-cent silver pieces, half-dimes,
dimes, quarters, half dollars, silver dollars, gold
dollars, quarter eagles, three-dollar pieces, half
eagles, eagles, and double eagles. The first deposit
was of Mexican dollars which amounted to more than
32,400 dollars. The first coins struck were Liberty
Seated dimes. Each year between the beginning of August
and the end of November, the mint closed because of
the annual outbreak of yellow fever.
Gobrecht was the third Chief Engraver at the United
States Mint. He was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania in
1785. His father was a German immigrant, and his mother
traced her ancestry to the early settlers of Plymouth,
Massachusetts. Gobrecht married Mary Hewes in 1818.
One of his early positions was as an engraver of clocks
in Baltimore. Later he went to Philadelphia where he
became a banknote engraver. He invented a machine that
allowed one to convert a three-dimensional medal into
an illustration. This was an excellent job and Gobrecht
was understandably reluctant to work for the Mint for
less money than he was making at the engraving firm.
In order to persuade him to leave, Mint Director Robert
Patterson prevailed upon Chief Engraver William Kneass,
who had had a stroke, to take less in salary so more
money would be available to hire Gobrecht on a permanent
basis. In 1826 Gobrecht did his first work for the Mint
as an assistant to Kneass. After Kneass’ stroke,
Gobrecht did all the die and pattern work for the Mint.
He became Chief Engraver in 1840 and served until his
death in 1844. He was famous for his Liberty Seated
motif, which was used for all denominations of silver
coinage including the half-dime, dime, quarter dollar,
half dollar and silver dollar. He also designed the
Liberty Head gold eagle, a motif that was also used
on the half-cent, the cent, the gold quarter eagle,
and the gold half eagle.
Louis B. Eliasberg was an American numismatist and
financier. In the numismatic community he is best
known as the person who put together the only complete
collection of United States coins ever assembled.
While not quite complete by modern standards because
it did not differentiate between proof and circulation
strikes, the collection is the most comprehensive
of all time. He collected one of every United States
date, metal, denomination, and mintmark ever struck
as of November 1950, when he completed his collection.
In addition to not considering proofs vs. circulation
strikes, the collection generally ignored die varieties,
which are popular today. Highlights of his collection
included a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, an 1873-CC No
Arrows dime, and a 1933 double eagle. Since this coin
was believed to have been illegally issued, Eliasberg
returned the coin to the government voluntarily without
compensation. All coins from his collection have additional
value because of their special provenance.
Pre Civil War gold from the New Orleans Mint is rare
because of low original mintages and low survival
rates. The 1846-O half eagle is a condition rarity.
Most are seen in VF or XF condition. Only 11 pieces
have been certified in Mint State by both grading
services, and the present example is unique in that
it is the finest known with none better. The added
Eliasberg provenance creates a truly rare, historically
important piece that would be the centerpiece of any
fine numismatic cabinet.