Mint State 1859 Dahlonega Half Eagle To Be Offered in Our November 2015 Baltimore Rarities Night Auction

The half eagle is the largest coin ever produced at the Dahlonega Mint and is a favorite among collectors. With a mintage of 10,366 coins, the 1859-D is the second rarest $5 issue from that Georgia facility, overshadowed by the 1861-D at 1,597 pieces. Even so, the extant population of 1859-D examples is decidedly small, and Doug Winter suggests the survival of just 120 to 140 pieces.

Two distinct mintmark styles were made, one with a Medium D and one with a Large D. PCGS Senior Grader Gordon Wrubel notes that the two styles can be easily distinguished as the medium mintmark appears to be wider than it is tall, and the opposite is true for the large mintmark. Large D examples are significantly more rare than their Medium D counterparts, with the example offered in our sale of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part II, October 1999, lot 117 representing the discovery specimen, and currently among the top three or four coins certified at PCGS and NGC. 

While the Medium D variety is more available to collectors, examples are nonetheless impressive rarities. PCGS has certified just 12 Mint State examples, with the piece to be offered in our November Rarities Night auction tied for third finest with just three other survivors. It will be an important opportunity for southern gold specialists and is sure to cause much excitement upon crossing the auction block.

Regal gold hues dominate surfaces that are reflective in the fields and more satiny at the borders. This prooflike character pleasantly emphasizes the bold and lustrous motifs on both sides, imparting a mild cameo effect that is most evident on the reverse. The centers show a trivial softness that is characteristic for the issue, though the adjacent regions are sharp and delineated. Light areas of die polish are visible surrounding the peripheral elements, contributing to the dazzling aesthetic of this Mint State piece.     

View this and the other treasures to be featured in our November 2015 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo next month at For more information or to reserve your copy of the catalog, please visit or call our offices at 1-800-458-4646.  

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