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Capped Bust Half Eagle
Reich’s CAPPED BUST FIVE DOLLARS OR CAPPED BUST HALF EAGLES (1807-1834): John Reich designed the Capped Bust Half Eagle of 1807 to 1834. Although the 1818 to 1829 were done by Robert Scott, he copied Reich’s earlier design, and the 1829 to 1834 designs were modified by William Kneass.

The obverse shows Liberty in profile facing left wearing a LIBERTY inscribed cap that was intended to represent a Phrygian cap. The Capped Bust Half Eagle, John Reich’s design, has seven stars to the left of Liberty and six to the right with the date below. Scott’s copies of the Capped Bust Half Eagle were not nearly as artistic as Reich’s. On his design, all thirteen stars encircle Liberty’s head with the date below. Liberty’s features are coarse and thick. His eagle on the Capped Bust Half Eagle is more defiant with its opened mouth and aggressively curved neck. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is in an arc around the eagle, interrupted by the wing tips. On a banner over the eagle’s head between its wings is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The denomination written as 5 D is below. Dentils are seen at the periphery of both sides of the Capped Bust Half Eagle coin.

Reich corrected the error made by Robert Scot in the design of the previous half eagle (as well as his other heraldic eagle motifs). Scot had placed the arrows in the eagle’s right or dexter claw and put the olive branch in the left or sinister claw. This reversal of the positions of these two items is an inaccurate modification of the Great Seal of the United States. Arrows in the right claw symbolize extreme militarism, which is hardly a message a young nation should place on its coinage. On the Capped Bust Half Eagle, the olive branch is in the right claw and the arrows are in the left.

In 1825 Mint Director Samuel Moore wrote to Thomas Jefferson asking him about the proper emblem of Liberty for our coins. Jefferson replied that the Phrygian cap was not appropriate to be worn on the head of a goddess on United States coinage since we were never slaves. Nonetheless, the cap remained until the Capped Bust Half Eagle was replaced by the Classic Heads of 1834.

Edge: Reeded
Weight: 8.748 grams (135.0 grains) (0.2812 troy ounces)
Diameter: (1807-1829) 25 millimeters; (1829-1834) 23.8 millimeters
Composition: 91.76% gold, 8.33% copper
Gold Content: 8.027 grams (123.88 grains) (0.2580 troy ounces)

Rare in higher MS grades. 8 have been graded in MS65, 2 in MS66, and 2 in MS67.
Look for the slightly tougher 1808/7 overdate, which is four times rarer than normal and exceedingly rare in Mint State. The regular date is rare above MS64.
These are all 1809/8 overdates. They are rare above MS64. The highest is a single MS66.
Found with different combinations of Small or Large Dates and Small or Tall 5s. Small 5s prohibitively rare—about 20 known with Small Date and about 6 with Large Date. Most common is Large Date, Tall 5 which is rare above MS64.
Found with Small and Tall 5s. The Tall 5s are rarer although 1 has been graded MS66. Pops reports on this date are misleading because many were certified with no variety indicated. All are rare in higher MS grades.
Rare above MS64 with only 13 MS65 examples and 1 MS66.
First year of new type – saved in quantity and common in Mint State today. Rare above MS64 with 7 in MS65 and 1 in MS66.
These are all 1814/3 overdates. Rare in Mint State and none certified above MS64.
Extremely rare - only about 12 are known; 7 have been certified in all grades, 4 in Mint State. The highest is a single MS65.
All stars have a notched inner point- about 60 are known. Perhaps the most interesting variety has no space between STATES OF on the reverse- about 90 are known Other variety – 5D over 50- about 30 are known. All are rare in MS.
Regular issue prohibitively rare- only 8 are known. Highest is an MS61. On one variety, the denomination was improperly cut into the die, resulting in 5D over 5O. Only about 17 are known. Only 6 in Mint State. 2 MS65s are the highest.
Found with Curved and Square Base 2s. Curved Base 2s have Large and Small Letters. Square Base 2- less than 100 known, about half in MS; Curl Base 2 with Small Letters – about 14 are known with 4 in MS; Curl Base 2 with Large Letters – about 35 are known with 8 in MS.
Only 15 are known to exist with 6 in MS; the highest is a single MS66.
Either the mintage is wrong or most were melted since only three examples are known today. Two are in the Smithsonian and 1 was part of the Eliasberg Collection graded XF40. It is in 100 Greatest U.S. Coins by Garrett and Guth.
Only about 80 are known of which 30 are in MS grades. The highest is a single MS65.
About 35 are known is all grades with 2 MS65s being the highest certified.
Most of these are 1825/1 overdates of which only about 30 are known to exist. Only two examples are known of the 1825/4 overdate. 13 have been certified in MS by both PCGS and NGC.
About 35 are known to exist with 16 certified in MS grades. The highest are 2 at MS66.
About 30 are known in all grades with 25 certified in MS grades. The highest is a single example at MS66.
Both the Normal Date and the 1828/7 overdate are extremely rare. Normal Date – about 13 are known 6 of which are in MS. Overdate – only 6 are known, 3 in MS63 and 1 in MS64.
Comes with Large and Small Dates. Large Date – 8 known, 3 in MS66. Small Date – 9 known, highest 1 in MS65. Two proofs are known, both are with Large Dates.
A total of 35 have been certified in all grades. Finest known are 2 in MS66. Found with Large or Small D’s at the base of the reverse. Small D is slightly rarer.
About 25 are known in all grades. Finest known are 2 MS67 examples. Found with Large or Small D's at the base of the reverse.
Found with Curved or Flat Based 2s in the date. The Curved Base 2, 12 Stars is extremely rare with only 3 certified by both services. It is in 100 Greatest U.S. Coins by Garrett and Guth. The Flat Based 2s have about 40 known with the finest a single MS65 example. Two proofs are known.
Found with Large and Small Dates. About 40 Large Dates and 25 Small Dates are known. The highest certified is a single MS65 Small Date. Three proofs are known, all with Large Dates.
Found with Plain and Crosslet 4s. About 40 with Plain 4s are known with 46 certified by both grading services. The highest is a single MS65. 18 Crosslet 4s have been certified. The highest is a single MS65.
Half Eagle Gold Coins for Sale


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