By CoinWeek ….
On Sunday, December 1, bidding ends on GreatCollections.com for this 1808/7 Capped Bust Left $5 gold half eagle, graded MS-65 by PCGS and pedigreed to both the Norweb and D. Brent Pogue collections. It is the single-finest-known example–at both PCGS and NGC–of this early half eagle overdate variety.
While no auction records for MS-65 are listed on the PCGS website for the 1808/7 overdate, this coin last sold for $105,750 USD (including Buyer’s Premium) when it was part of the D. Brent Pogue Collection in February of 2016. Before that, it was part of the Norweb sales in 1987.
After 45 bids at the time of writing, the highest bid on GreatCollections.com for this finest known 1808/7 Capped Bust Left gold half eagle is $67,500 USD.
If you want to check GreatCollections for sales of the 1808/7 overdate–or any other gold half eagle, for that matter–be sure to check out the GreatCollections Auction Archives, with records for over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years.
Background of the 1808/7 Capped Bust Left Half Eagle
The Capped Bust Left gold half eagle was struck from 1807 through 1834 and is divided into three types. The first type (Type 1) is called the Capped Draped Bust to left due to the addition of a bust to the coin’s portrayal of Liberty. Type 1 was struck from 1807 to 1812. The second type (Type 2) features a redesigned Liberty on the obverse, and was struck from 1813 until 1829. The third type (Type 3) maintains the effigy of Liberty from the second type but has a smaller, more uniform diameter than the first two thanks to the use of a close collar to strike the half eagles starting in 1829.
In 1807, U.S. Mint Director Robert Patterson assigned Assistant Engraver John Reich to redesign several of the nation’s circulating coins not long after the German-born Reich had been promoted to that position. His new Capped Bust Left design replaced the Turban Head Liberty originated by Chief Engraver Robert Scot in 1795. Reich also introduced a not-insignificant innovation by adding the denomination (in this case, 5 D.) to American gold (and silver) coinage. Additionally, he also refined the appearance of the eagle.
For much of its production, the Capped Bust half eagle (including the left-facing Type 1) circulated relatively more than the other early U.S. gold coin denominations. This means that many specimens can be found in circulated or even worn condition – but the coin can be found in a wide spectrum of conditions, including gem.
Like other early U.S. gold coins, most of the 399,013 pieces struck at Philadelphia during the 1807-12 run of the Capped Bust Left half eagle was melted over subsequent decades. Only about one percent of this total is currently thought to have survived to the present day. The rarity of the 1808/7 overdate variety, especially in Mint State, should therefore not be underestimated.