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Impressive Mint State 1811 Half Eagle from the Magnolia Collection to be featured in our June 2017 Baltimore Auction

Lot 11394 of our June 2017 Baltimore Auction spotlights a gorgeous MS-62+ (PCGS)
CAC 1811 Capped Bust Left half eagle. This example is the BD-1, Tall 5 variety and
ranks among the finest known survivors of that marriage. Earlier offered as
part of the Griggs Collection in our October 2015 Rarities Auction, we are
delighted to once again offer this stunning piece, now part of the Magnolia
Collection, in our upcoming sale.


Introduced
in 1795, the half eagle was the first gold coin struck by the United States
Mint for circulation. As the second largest gold denomination produced (until
the appearance of the double eagle in 1850), the $5 half eagle represented a
more moderate sum of money and was more practical for everyday commerce than
the $10 eagle. While smaller bullion deposits limited mintages in the early
years of production, striking quantities generally trended upward through the
early 19th century. After 1804, when mintage of the eagle was stopped, the half
eagle was the only gold coin issued from 1809 through 1820, as bullion
depositors often demanded the largest denomination in return for their precious
metal. Many half eagles were damned by gold content that exceeded their stated
face value, prompting significant exportation and melting to take advantage of
the favorable gold to silver ratios that governed European markets. Reported mintages
for gold coins of this era bear little relevance to the true rarity of most
issues and varieties.

It
is during this era that the offered 1811 half eagle was struck. Displaying
Assistant Engraver John Reich’s Capped Bust Left motif, the 1811 issue saw two
distinct varieties: one exhibiting a more diminutive 5 in the denomination on
the reverse (Small 5), and one with a more lengthy 5 (Tall 5). While slightly
scarcer than the Small 5 variety in circulated grades, Tall 5 examples are
nearly twice as rare in Mint State, emphasizing the desirability of this offering.


Lustrous
yellow surfaces are accented by subtle honey gold in the protected regions. The
design elements are nicely pronounced throughout, with sharpness to the central
reverse that transcends what is typically encountered on this issue. Liberty’s
portrait on the obverse is very appealing, with attractive luster emanating
from the intricacies. The fields on both sides are fully undisturbed and
silken. The faintest die crack and adjustment marks (both as struck) can be
seen at the peripheries. Just beyond the final S in STATES on the reverse and
continuing downward through the scroll is evidence of striking through a thread
or wire, though this is largely imperceptible without magnification. This
lovely example delivers superior aesthetic and technical merit for the assigned
grade.

This
stunning half eagle is one of many impressive rarities from the Magnolia
Collection to cross the block in our June 2017 Official Auction of the Whitman
Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. The sale also features the Blue Moon
Collection, Part II, the Robert Warner Wolfe Collection and other important
properties. The sale is available for viewing and bidding in its entirety at
www.StacksBowers.com. Contact us today at 1-800-458-4646 or email
info@StacksBowers.com to secure your copy of the catalog or consign to our
upcoming August 2017 ANA Auction in Denver, Colorado.


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