1880-CC Half Eagle - 1880-CC $5 NGC F12 CAC. This circulated, Western branch mint half eagle could easily have graded several points higher. The coin is a mixture of light and dark yellow gold, which shows its originality. The surfaces are clean for the grade with no notable abrasion marks or other distractions. The coin shows the hair down Liberty’s neck well outlined. All seven letters of LIBERTY are readable and plain. The CAC sticker affirms the grade and indicates that the coin is a premium quality piece.
Christian Gobrecht designed the Liberty Head or Coronet half eagle. The coin shows Liberty facing left in profile wearing a LIBERTY inscribed coronet with her hair tied in the back with beads. Two long curls hang down her neck, one in the back and the other on the side. She is surrounded with thirteen six-pointed stars. The date is below the truncation, which shows no drapery. The motif is taken from a Benjamin West painting of Venus. It was also used with modifications for the Large Cents of 1839. The reverse shows a heraldic eagle with outstretched wing looking to the left. On its chest is the Union shield. In its talons it holds the olive branch and arrows. Except for the tips of the eagle’s wings UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the reverse, separated from the denomination FIVE D. by dots. Dentils are near the edge on both sides of the coin, and the edge is reeded. Type 2 was created when the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to a banner designed by James B. Longacre above the eagle in 1866. The change was made in response to pressure organized by the Reverend M.R. Watkinson.
In 1826 Gobrecht did his first work for the Mint as an assistant to William Kneass. After Kneass suffered a debilitating stroke, Gobrecht did all the die and pattern work for the Mint. He became Chief Engraver in 1840 and served until his death in 1844. He was famous for his Liberty Seated motif, which was used for all denominations of silver coinage including the half-dime, dime, quarter dollar, half dollar and silver dollar. He also designed the Liberty Head gold eagle, a motif that was also used on the half-cent, the cent, the gold quarter eagle, and the gold half eagle.
In its population report, NGC shows 9 1880-CC half eagles certified at the F12 grade level. At CAC, as of January, 2014, only the present coin has been confirmed in F12. Less than 4% of all NGC and PCGS certified coins have been given CAC stickers.
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