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Heritage Auctions – Seldom Seen Selections: Early Overdate 1802/1 Half Eagle

Heritage Auctions 1802/1 $5 Gold Coin

A substantial mintage for the time of 53,176 Capped Bust Right half eagles occurred in 1802, all using leftover obverse dies from the previous year that have a 2 punched over the final digit in the date. Eight die varieties are known for the date.

In our current March 14-16 Dallas Signature Auction we are offering an example of the BD-8 variety, with the 2 touching the bust, perfect T’s in the reverse legend, and the final S in STATES over the far right of a cloud.

The BD-8 is a relatively available variety in the context of the series, with a surviving population of 150-200 examples in all grades. The BD-8 probably accounted for 10 to 15 thousand examples of the reported mintage. The obverse die was used previously to strike the BD-6 and BD-7 varieties of this date, but this was the only use of the reverse die. It is possible that there was a remarriage of these dies, with some late die state examples of BD-7 struck between the two pairings.

Collectors have prized the early half eagles since the earliest days of the hobby and the 1802/1 began appearing at auction at least as early as lot 176 of the A.C. Kline Sale (M. Thomas & Sons, 6/1855), although the lot description did not mention the overdate. By the mid-1860s, catalogers began taking note of this feature, as W. Elliot Woodward described the coin in lot 2755 of his Sixth Semi-Annual Sale as “1802 over 1801; uncirculated, as fine as proof; scarce.” The lot was purchased by Thomas Cleneay for $9, a strong price at the time.

This coin, graded MS64+ by PCGS, exhibits sharply detailed design elements and dramatic clash marks in the fields on both sides. The well-preserved antique-gold surfaces radiate vibrant mint luster, with outstanding eye appeal. This coin represents an exceptional balance of quality and value, since 1802/1 half eagles are rare in gem grades, with an MS65 example having sold for as much as $138,000 USD in a recent Heritage auction.

Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctionshttps://www.ha.com/
Heritage Auction Galleries is one of the world's largest collectibles auctioneers. Besides offering rare and valuable U.S. and world coins and currency, Heritage offers ancient coins, exonumia, antiques, comic books, sports memorabilia, and many other collectibles. The firm is based in Dallas, Texas.

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