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1795 HALF EAGLE, Small Eagle
1795 Half Eagle
1795 Half Eagle was the very first gold coins struck and delivered, on July 31, 1795 were $5 gold pieces, or half eagles. A total of 744 were delivered that day, and the denomination would be struck with only short intervals until all gold was recalled in 1795. Of the first year of issue, a total of fifteen different varieties are known. Of these twelve are from the so-called small-eagle type, which would be also used on the first type of eagles, or $10 gold piece. Another three were struck using large eagle reverse, a design which was not introduced until mid 1797. The early United States Mint did not pay close attention to the dies that were used for coinage, and as such many exotic issues from the 19th and early 20th century are known. These include the previously mentioned 1795 large eagle $5, but also the 1798 $5 with the small eagle reverse, which shares a similar story. Positively delivered on that last day in July 1795 was the first batch of 1795 small eagle $5 gold pieces.

The total number of 1795 half eagles struck for circulation usually is cited at 8,707 pieces, compromised of all deliveries up to September 16 of the same year. Minting of half eagles was halted for a while, presumably because the Mint wished to start coining the larger eagles. Yet, we are still unsure if that date truly ended the minting of 1795 small eagles, as explained above. As such, Bass-Dannreuther, in their standard reference titled Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties list the possible mintage as high as 12,106. Whatever the true number is, all varieties are scarce and as a date or type this issue is not acquired easily. Robert P. Hilt II, who published the book Die Varieties of Early United States Coins, has an even higher guess at a total mintage of 14,899 for all varieties. This number, based on the frequency of auction appearances seems to be on the high side, although he might have been correct at some points.

Eight obverses and nine reverses where used for coinage of this issue. The total of twelve varieties known to exist range in rarity from R-3+ (BD-3) to R-7+ (BD-11). Because of the high cost of individual coins and the difficulty of completing the full set in any date, regardless of variety makes variety collecting a task very scarcely taken by any. Those who try, often fail short of a few extremely difficult varieties. The only person who ever completed, or nearly so, a set of early half eagles by date and die variety was Harry W. Bass Jr. His collection was used for the book further completed by John Dannreuther, which has been the leading reference on the subject in the last few years. With this new publication in place, variety collecting of early gold coins might become slightly more attractive. Obviously, it will never become as popular as collecting the early copper series, but for the collector with deep pockets it might become a very interesting challenge. Because of this, we could very well see an increase in prices for individual varieties, and this would be a great time to secure the rare varieties.

As can be expected for these coins, which were issued when the United States were still a young country in need of a monetary system, many are heavily circulated. The majority also show problems, often being damaging or cleaning. While these pieces are usually avoided in many other series, the rarity of the early $5 pieces makes that situation less obvious then one would guess. For the collectors or investors who are able to afford the highest grades, the supply is extremely limited. Any Mint State example is rare, and seldom offered at auction. Unbelievably, there are also a few gem pieces known, but these are mostly locked up in specialized and type collections. When any of those will reappear on the market it is destined to bring a record price for the date, and it will probably be a once in a life time opportunity.

The Half Eagle was the very first gold coin struck at the United States mint. Starting in 1795, the Half Eagle became the only U.S gold coin struck in each of the 8 U.S mints may or varieties exist in the early series with several appearing for sale very infrequently, sometimes not being seen for years.
The Small Eagle design Half Eagle by Scot, was one of the first acts that the then new mint director Henry William DeSaussure had proclaimed (one of 2, first to place gold coins in circulation, and second to improve an coin designs in general). The series ran for only a short terms 1795 thru 1798 with 1798 being a major variety commanding multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in better status of preservation.
A serious prize for specialists as well as investors of items of great historical importance, these Early Half Eagles have captured the imagination of collectors since they were first made.
They are all scarce to extremely rare and a symbol of the beginning of the United States via its coinage and coined art.

We at U.S. Rare Coin Investments highly recommend these coins for investments portfolios. Whether a single coin or the long term acquisition of them with the goal of building a set in terms of historical importances as well as longterm profit potential, cannot be overstated in our opinion.

The 1795, Small Eagle $5 gold piece is an extremely popular coin, being the first year of the type and denomination. This was true even in 1795, for the number of survivors today is remarkably high (approaching 6% of the original mintage, whereas most other dates rarely exceed 2 or 3%).

Circulated examples are easy to find, though pricey, and even About Uncirculated examples can be obtained without difficulty. Mint State examples are fairly rare and are most likely to fall into the MS-62 category. Gems are extremely rare. A few prooflike examples exist that have been called "presentation pieces" or "Proofs" in the past.

 

USRCI is buying and selling Early Half Ealges

CLICK HERE to see our Inventory

 



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