By Christopher Maisano – Numismatist, Stack’s Bower Galleries ……
This exceptional 1802/1 half eagle will be featured in the Rarities Night session of the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Spring 2022 Showcase Auction. The coin is impeccable for the grade with the nicest eye appeal one could desire from a choice AU piece. There are only the most minute specs of wear on the highest points, and they are virtually undetectable. The strike is well centered and well-executed for the type, with most design elements displaying bold to sharp detail and only the lightest friction. Thus, its CAC approval is not surprising.
This example displays pleasing yellow color and nearly Gem-level luster. The amount of remaining mint luster is astonishing given this coin’s age and assigned grade. Whether you are a seasoned numismatist or someone looking for a stunner at the higher end of your budget, this is the perfect gold piece for you. It is a premium quality specimen, an undeniable head-turner, competing for attention with coins four to five times its value.
The present example is BD Die State c/a, a combination not noted in the 2006 Bass-Dannreuther reference on early U.S. gold coin varieties. Of the eight known die marriages of the 1802 half eagle, all are overdates, and BD-7 is among the scarcest. Based on the number of coins extant, John W. Dannreuther (Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties: A Study of Die States, 1795-1834, 2006) believes that the reported mintage of 53,176 pieces roughly approximates the number of half eagles struck from 1802-dated dies.
The author further opines that only 3,000 to 6,000 examples were coined from the BD-7 die pairing with survivors numbering 50 to 65 pieces in all grades. By early half eagle standards, this small quantity is deemed generous. Attractive Choice AU survivors such as this are particularly rare and possess tremendous potential as superior quality type coins worthy of inclusion in advanced gold cabinets. We are sure to see spirited bidding at auction.
This half eagle will be featured alongside exceptional rarities and important collections in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction for the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo. For more information email [email protected].