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1859-C Half Eagle

1859-C Half Eagle
1859-C Half Eagle
PCGS No: 8281
Circulation strikes: 31,847
Proofs: none
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Diameter: ±21.65 millimeters
Metal content: Gold - 90%
Other - 10%
Weight: 129 grains (8.24 grams
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: "C" (for Charlotte, NC) below the eagle on the reverse


Data on the Charlotte branch are from the National Archives. Pursuant to resolutions of the Secession Convention, December 1860, rebel authorities seized the branch, April 20, 1861, hoisting a Confederate flag over the building, hauling down the Union flag. They required all officials and employees to take oaths of allegiance to the CSA; they fired all who refused. Operations continued as usual, including [887] half eagles delivered in May; the branch closed in October. At closure, someone shipped to Philadelphia a parcel of 12 half eagles reserved for assay from the February - April coinages under Union control. The Assay Commission tested them, February 1862, and found them all within legal limits of weight and fineness.

Auction Appearances and Collateral Evidence:
The 1859-C half eagle is an interesting issue in terms of appearance. All of the known exam¬ples of the date have a reverse that is very poorly impressed. It is thought that the reverse die was defective in some way. The 1859-C half eagle can be difficult to grade in many cases, as the obverse is usually sharp. Most of the 1859-C half eagles offered are in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine grade range. Examples of the date in About Uncirculated are scarce but are seen at auction on a regular basis. The 1859-C half eagle is very rare in Mint State, with most falling in the lower echelons of Uncirculated. The finest known example of the date is the incomparable NGC MS-66 coin that was at one time in the collections of John Clapp, Louis Eliasberg, Stanley Elrod, and Ed Milas. The coin is the finest half eagle known from the Charlotte Mint.

Number of Appearances: 85 (25%)


To the best of my knowledge, all 1859-C Half Eagles have a weak, indistinct reverse. In my opinion, this weakness is not a function of strike but rather is the result of problems with the dies. In fact, the obverses of most specimens I have seen have generally been well struck. Because of the reverse weakness, grading 1859-C Half Eagles is difficult and even AU or uncirculated pieces give the impression of being "worn". VF or EF examples are all that are generally available but there are a few strictly uncirculated specimens known.

See this 1859-C Half Eagle for sale. Click here!


US Rare Coin Investments 2003 - 2015 U.S. Rare Coin Investments

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