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1822 Gold Half Eagle

Obverse Reverse

 

Composition: .9167 Gold, .0833 Copper Diameter: 25mm
Weight: 8.75 grams / 135 grains Edge: Reeded

Last sold at public auction in October 1982 for $687,500 by Bowers and Ruddy as part of the Louis E. Eliasberg gold portion. This $5 gold coin, or "Half Eagle" as the denomination is often called, is the only one still in private hands. A total of three 1822 Half Eagles are known, two of which reside in our National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian. This specimen is the finest of the three.

For many years, numismatists virtually ignored gold coins while intense research was conducted for die varieties of copper and silver issues. For some strange reason, early gold coins, particularly those struck after 1834, simply "got no respect." Of course, this would change dramatically in later years, and today these coins often command the highest prices of all U.S. coinage at public auctions (and in private treaty). The fact that a Brasher Doubloon was rescued on it's way to the melting pot at the mint just "blows my mind!" Who knows just how many coins that would be a "numismatic wonder" today, failed to escape this melting pot?

It comes as no surprise that this coin was finally landed by Mr. Louis Eliasberg, Sr., just like most unique and/or virtually unobtainable U.S. coinage.



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