See also : Coin US gold coins Silver coins Dollars and eagles
Chronology : 1820-1829 1830-1839
1822 Half Eagle
2021 SOLD for $ 8.4M by Stack's Bowers
The half eagle in its draped bust design was produced from 1807 to 1834 through two small changes : the improvement of the figure in 1812 and a slight reduction to the diameter in 1829. The design with classic head takes over from 1834 to 1839.
1815 is highly rare due to the shortage of gold, the 1815 half eagle was sold for $ 820K by Stack's Bowers on February 9, 2016. No half eagle was released in 1816 and 1817.
In the 1820s the half eagle is an issue because its value in gold has become greater than its face value. For this reason, a large proportion of the coins was redeemed and melted. Its change from 1834 will aim to limit the consequences.
Another fact may explain the utmost rarity of the half eagle on the date of 1822. On that year, the recorded production was similar to the other years, probably insufficient for the dies to be worn at the end of the year. Most half eagles struck in 1822 have certainly been made with the tooling marked 1821, although no document confirms this hypothesis. The following year marked a return to normal.
The top collectors of US coins want to own an example of all the regular varieties. The earlier ones were not yet concerned with discriminating between the production sites. 1822 was known from a severely worn coin found by an executive of the Philadelphia mint who was already looking to fill in the gaps. The first craze applied to the 1815.
In 1864 the Seavey collection of gold coins was reputed complete. Parmelee acquired it en bloc, including an 1822 half eagle.
In 1890 Parmelee put his collection up for auction at the New York Coin and Stamp Company. His 1822 half eagle was to be the star of the event, symbolizing the sensational quality of his collection. Catastrophe : this highly desirable coin is a counterfeit.
A subterfuge is found. By chance, one of the managers of the auction house owns an 1822 half eagle, which is then somehow the only one in private hands. He substitutes it for the Seavey-Parmelee unit and auctions it to himself for $ 900. It is the most expensive lot of the sale, far ahead of the 1815 half eagle, already less rare at that time, sold for $ 235. The authentic 1822 will enter the Smithsonian collection in 1968.
Only one other 1822 half eagle has surfaced. It appeared in 1899, bought by Virgil Brand from a dealer. Louis E. Eliasberg acquired it in 1945 from a broker. It made the big dream come true : his collection is complete and unrivaled, since this authentic piece is the only one of its variety in private hands. Without it, it is impossible to assemble a complete private collection of US coinage.
Coming now from the D. Brent Pogue collection and graded AU-50 by PCGS passed at Stack's Bowers on May 24, 2016, lot 4026, and was sold by the same auction house for $ 8.4M on March 25, 2021, lot 4149. Please watch the short video shared by Stack's Bowers.
In the same 2016 sale, an 1833 half eagle exceptional in its condition, graded Proof-67 by PCGS, was sold for $ 1.35M, lot 4044.
The Only 1822 Half Eagle Available to Collectors— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) March 23, 2021
1822 Capped Head Left Half Eagle. BD-1. Rarity-8. AU-50 (PCGS).
"I have the only one not in the hands of the government." - Louis Eliasberg, on the 1822 half eagle, 1975
Bid on Lot 4149 at https://t.co/BoJzSFkF9P. pic.twitter.com/7PybjguHcM
Proof Half Eagle
Proof coins are generally presented from mint to amateurs or other persons who know their specificity and keep them safe. They thus remain in excellent condition. Everything is easier for recent issues which have of course a better traceability. For older pieces, the experts should use their best inspection equipment.
2022 SOLD for $ 4.6M by Heritage
Two 1821 proof half eagles survive, both in PR65 Cameo. One of them is kept at the Smithsonian after entering the Mint Cabinet at its inception in 1838. The other example, graded by PCGS, was sold for $ 4.6M by Heritage on September 29, 2022, lot 11052. Coming from the Harry Bass Core Collection, it had previously been owned by Randall, Woodin, Newcomer, Colonel Green, King Farouk and Norweb.
Please watch the videos shared by the auction house.
The Capped Head Left Five 1821 is prohibitively rare. Two proof examples are known, one of those coins is in the National #Numismatic Collection at the #Smithsonian. Bidders took notice and drove the price for the only proof in private hands to $4,620,000. https://t.co/M5ao7FYZ1j pic.twitter.com/SQvYfzf5s6— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) September 30, 2022
2022 SOLD for $ 4.1M by Stack's Bowers
Re established as one of the three finest certified pre-1834 proof gold coins after half a century in oblivion, it was sold for $ 4.1M by Stack's Bowers on August 25, 2022, lot 7160. Please watch the coin in motion video shared by the auction house.
This coin is more properly a 1825/4/1 as the last digit of the date has been marked 5 over a 4 superseding the 1 of the original 1821 of the die. Such overdating was a common practice due to the shortage of high quality steel. A 1825/4 half eagle graded MS64 by PCGS was sold for $ 940K by Stack's Bowers in May 2016, lot 4030.
1829 Large Date
2023 SOLD for $ 2.9M by Heritage
Two 1829 proof half eagles survive in the large date variety, beside no more than five circulation strikes.
The finer proof is graded PR66+ by PCGS. The polishing of the reverse die had not been completed, which was frequent at that time when only the obverses were displayed in a coin cabinet. It may have been originally made in a special strike for inclusion of one of them in a cornerstone cavity of the extended facility in Philadelphia, although it was not documented as such.
It was acquired in 1983 by Harry W. Bass Jr from the estate of Virgil Brand who had died in 1926. It was sold for $ 2.9M by Heritage on May 4, 2023, lot 4562.
The other example, graded PR64 by PCGS, was sold for $ 1.38M by Heritage on January 5, 2012, lot 4681.
Proof 1829 Half Eagle in part 3 of Heritage CSNS Bass Collection sale: https://t.co/z3Pm1EShr9— CoinWeek (@CoinWeek) April 20, 2023
“The collection of Harry W. Bass is a historically significant assemblage of elite coins that has brought nearly $44.5 million so far,” Heritage Executive VP Todd Imhof. #uscoinauction pic.twitter.com/nFRH6avvQV
1829 Small Date
2023 SOLD for $ 3.84M by Heritage
The process changes, previously applied to the 1828 dime, were a heavy five-man screw press, plus a newly designed close collar that brought in association with a reeded rim a perfect centering and sharper details in a higher relief. The planchet was reduced in diameter and increased in thickness without changing its weight and fineness.
For the first year, the production runs were made in December 1829 and February 1830. 2 proof coins and about 8 business coins are known to survive.
The proof coin kept by the Smithsonian is equivalent to a PR66 deep cameo. The other proof coin is graded PR66+ cameo by PCGS. Coming from the Harry Bass core collection, it was sold for $ 3.84M by Heritage on August 10, 2023, lot 9061. Its earlier provenance includes Parmelee, Newcomer, Colonel Green, King Farouk and Norweb. Please watch the videos shared by the auction house.
The finest 1829 small date half eagle business coin, graded MS65+ by PCGS, was sold for $ 880K by Stack's Bowers on May 24, 2016, lot 4037 in the Part IV of the sale of the Pogue collection.
1804 Dollars and Eagles
Among the diplomatic gifts, the Americans define a box that will contain an example of each of the coin denominations in circulation. The cumulative face value of the ten samples is derisory : $ 19.415. The double eagle did not yet exist.
The target is indeed to demonstrate the quality of proof coins produced in the United States. This prestige finish had been used sparingly since 1801 for silver, 1817 for copper and 1820 for gold. A 1821 quarter eagle graded PR64 Cameo by PCGS was sold for $ 240K by Heritage in January 2007.
For the largest silver and gold coins, $ 1 and $ 10 respectively, President Jefferson suspended production in 1804 to curb speculation, while maintaining their circulation. For these two denominations, the Philadelphia Mint decides to supply coins inscribed 1804 rather than 1834 which would be illegal. These coins will necessarily be a new build, to display the proof finish in mint condition.
Two dollars and two eagles were thus minted at the end of 1834. Both sets were delivered by Roberts in 1835 at their scheduled destination. The monarchs did not handle their gifts, of course. Their dollars are graded by PCGS PR 68 for the Muscat and PR 67 for the Siam which is still in its presentation box.
Meanwhile the Secretary of State had decided that Roberts must extend his mission up to Cochin China and Japan. Two additional sets are assembled in April 1835 just in time before his departure. Of course two new 1804 eagles and two new 1804 dollars are minted. A tiny defect in the eagle die has been repaired in the mean time. It is not known what happened to these two sets after the death of Roberts in Macau in June 1836. It is probable that a member of the crew caught them discreetly.
Another strike of 1804 dollars is made in an unidentified year with the same pair of dies. Four of these coins survive. There will be no further 1804 eagles, which is supporting a recent hypothesis that the four supernumerary 1804 dollars are patterns unrelated to the Roberts mission and not a mere additional strike for the archives of the Mint.
These eight silver dollars are together designated as the 1804 Class I dollars. They are a flagship of American numismatics by the quality of the execution of the Roberts specimens. The wear of the reference image of Liberty, designed in 1795, is not a numismatic defect.
The reason for the Class II and Class III restrikes of the 1804 dollar in the late 1850s is not clear.
1834 The Muscat Eagle
2021 SOLD for $ 5.3M by Heritage
The 1804 eagles used for the obverse a spare die from the 1800s decade on which the engraving of the last digit of the year still had to be done. This 4 designed in the style of the 1830s makes it possible to distinguish between the Crosslet 4 variety produced in period and the Plain 4 variety produced for the Roberts mission. Another difference is the quantity of reeds on the rim.
The eagles prepared for Muscat and Siam are the two pieces from the first batch. No test eagle having been identified, they are the first two eagles to have been processed as proofs.
The Muscat specimens are the best in both varieties. The dollar is graded PR68 by PCGS. The eagle, graded PR 65+ Deep Cameo by PCGS, was sold for $ 5.3M by Heritage on January 20, 2021, lot 3049.
The second batch of two 1804 presentation eagles of the Plain 4 variety was minted in April 1835, They were intended for the emperors of Japan and Cochin China. The sets were never delivered due to the untimely death of Roberts during the expedition. One of these eagles never surfaced. The other coin, graded PR63 by PCGS, was sold for $ 2.3M by Heritage on September 29, 2022, lot 11066.
NEW RECORD: The finest of just three known examples of the 1804 $10 Plain 4, BD-2, JD-1, Judd-33, High R.7, PR65+ Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC brings $5,280,000 at the FUN US Coins Signature Auction – the most ever paid at auction for a coin! https://t.co/6sLPD6FYbz#AuctionUpdate pic.twitter.com/aD2ohJauuy— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) January 21, 2021
1834 The Muscat Dollar
2021 SOLD for $ 7.7M by Stack's Bowers
The Sultan of Oman is an important Arabian monarch who controls the trade in the Horn of Africa which is a major passage to the Orient. His capital is Muscat.
The silver dollar is the symbol of the American currency and should be the focus of the gift. New dies are created from the punches that began to rust after three decades of storage. The date 1804 is selected because it is the latest that is legal.
The first class I 1804 dollar is struck in November or December 1834 with great care so that this brand new piece of silver shall dazzle the Sultan of Muscat when he opens the box. The government is enthusiastic about the project of Roberts and a similar gift is simultaneously prepared for the King of Siam.
Roberts presented the box to the Sultan on October 1, 1835, the day following the signing of the treaty of friendship between both states. This exceptional coin has been kept in mint condition. It is graded Proof 68 by PCGS. The image below has been downloaded a few years ago from Wikimedia.
The prestige of this piece with coin collectors is further increased by the fact that it is the very first silver dollar on the date of 1804. At the time of the Jefferson's 1804 suspension the dollars produced earlier in that year were still using the dies dated from the previous year.
Please watch the videos shared by Stack's Bowers in 2018 and 2021.
1804 Dollar possibly prepared for Roberts' second batch
2017 SOLD for $ 3.3M by Stack's Bowers
This coin had surfaced in Germany in 1884 with no identified history and was at that time the subject of a dispute of authenticity closed by an official statement in its favor issued by the US Mint. Moreover the hues of its patina and the perfect condition of its reverse suggest that this coin has long been preserved in a box identical to those offered to the two sovereigns. It is therefore probably one of the last two silver dollars of Roberts' voyage.
1831-1836 1804 Dollar for the use of the Mint
2020 SOLD for $ 3.36M by Stack's Bowers
In 1842 two managers of the Mint, DuBois and Eckfeldt, publish an illustrated manual devoted to gold and silver coins. The collector Matthew Stickney is puzzled. Plate II includes, among other coins, without further explanation, a 1804 dollar. According to official records, 19,570 dollars were minted in 1804. Stickney had never found a mere one.
In the following year Stickney manages to obtain a specimen kept at the Mint in exchange for a lot containing a 1785 Immune Columbia gold cent. This dollar, graded PR 65 by PCGS, is one of the two finest 1804 Class I after the copies offered to the kings. It was sold for $ 1.8M in April 1997 by Bowers and Merena, and for $ 3.36M on December 17, 2020 by Stack's Bowers, successor to Bowers and Merena, lot 1094.
It became evident after Stickney's intervention that dies from earlier years had been used in 1804 until it was ordered to stop this denomination, and that no dollar with the date 1804 was minted before the 1831 restart authorization.
1831-1836 1804 Dollar for the use of the Mint
2013 SOLD for $ 3.9M by Heritage
Please watch the video shared by Heritage. The image below has been downloaded a few years ago from Wikimedia.