The third Pogue sale made by Stack's Bowers on February 9, 2016 listed 27 half eagles from 1807 to 1820. Highly rare due to the shortage of gold, the 1815 half eagle was sold for $ 820K including premium. 1816 and 1817 are missing.
The fourth Pogue sale is held in New York on May 24 by Stack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's. It offers 37 half eagles from 1821 to 1839, lots 4025 to 4062, often the best known example for year and variant.
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 used as bullion, exported and melted. Its change from 1834 is aiming to limit the consequences.
These facts may explain the sensational rarity of the half eagle on the date of 1822. On that year, the realized 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 attention of collectors on the rarity of the 1822 half eagle was awakened in the late nineteenth century. In addition to a coin in poor condition preserved in the Smithsonian, it was counted after removing some counterfeits that only two units were surviving. Both in very good condition, they were coveted by the greatest collectors throughout the twentieth century.
One of these coins went to the Smithsonian by donation in 1968. There is now only one 1822 half eagle remaining in private hands. Without it, it is impossible to assemble a complete private collection of US coinage. This coin graded AU-50 by PCGS is offered as lot 4026 with an opening bid of $ 2.6M.
A 1833 half eagle is exceptional for its condition graded Proof-67 by PCGS that makes it one of the most stunning US gold coins of its time. It is estimated $ 850K, lot 4044.
1833 half eagle SOLD for $ 1.35M including premium