The finer of only two 1838-C half eagles graded Uncirculated by PCGS has been sold for a record price for any business strike Classic Head half eagle, and for any half eagle from the Charlotte Mint. Owned by dealers Douglas Winter of Douglas Winter Numismatics in Portland, Oregon and John Albanese of Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) of Far Hills, New Jersey, the coin was listed for sale on Winter’s website for $375,000 USD. It was sold to an unidentified collector.
1838-C $5.00 PCGS MS63+ CAC. Images courtesy Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN)
The Classic Head design was limited to quarter eagles and half eagles produced from 1834 through 1839. Half eagles of this type were struck at the Philadelphia Mint (1834-1838), the Charlotte Mint (1838 only), and the Dahlonega Mint (1838 only). The Charlotte issue is considered to be the rarest mintmark issue of any Classic Head design with an original mintage of just 17,179 coins. A few hundred are known today, with the majority showing extensive wear. This issue is regarded as quite scarce in the higher circulated grades, and it is excessively rare in Uncirculated with just a small number known.
The 1838-C sold by Winter and Albanese was graded MS63+ by PCGS and it had been approved by CAC. Until this coin was encapsulated in 2019 by PCGS, the only 1838-C half eagle in any Uncirculated grade was an MS63 that traded at the Stack’s Bowers sale of the Pogue Collection (Part IV) in May 2016 for a then-record price of $235,000.
The new finest known 1838-C had been off the market since April 1978 when it brought $10,500 in a Stack’s auction. It had been held by the owner since then until he sold it through an east coast dealer in 2019. It was then purchased by Winter and Albanese.
According to John Albanese:
“I regard this 1838-C as both the single most important business strike Classic Head gold coin of any issue and the single-best half eagle from Charlotte. It is a coin with many levels of demand; an essential piece to the collector of high-grade Classic Head gold, to the advanced Charlotte gold specialist, or for a collector working on a type set featuring irreplaceable coins.”
Winter was equally enthusiastic:
“This coin is a great combination of aesthetic beauty, true condition rarity, and numismatic significance. There are other Charlotte half eagles known that grade higher than this but one has to remember that the 1838-C is important as a first-year-of-issue and as a one-year type. It is also the rarest Charlotte half eagle in very high grades.”
Classic Head gold coins have been overlooked for many generations, but a new standard reference by Daryl Haynor is forthcoming and this is likely to encourage specialized collecting of both quarter eagles and half eagles of this design.
Charlotte gold coinage has been extensively researched by Winter, who has produced three different editions of the book Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint, 1838-1861. Copies of this work are offered on the CoinWeek Supplies website.
For more information on the sale of this coin, Douglas Winter can be reached via email at [email protected].
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About Doug Winter
Doug has spent much of his life in the field of numismatics; beginning collecting coins at the age of seven, and by the time he was 10 years old, buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York City area.
In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his firm specializes in buying and selling choice and rare US Gold coins, especially US gold coins and all branch mint material.
Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic firms, Doug is an award-winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and the recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and an exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins have made him one of the most respected figures in the numismatic community and a sought after dealer by collectors and investors looking for professional personalized service, a select inventory of impeccable quality and fair and honest pricing. Doug is also a major buyer of all US coins and is always looking to purchase collections both large and small. He can be reached at (214) 675-9897.
Doug has been a contributor to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also known as the “Redbook”) since 1983, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars and Andrew Pollock’s United States Pattern and Related Issues
In addition, he has authored 13 books on US Gold coins including:
- Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909
- Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint: 1870 – 1893
- Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
- The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889
- Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: A Rarity and Condition Census Update
- An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type One Double Eagles
- The Connoisseur’s Guide to United States Gold Coins
- A Collector’s Guide To Indian Head Quarter Eagles
- The Acadiana Collection of New Orleans Coinage
- Type Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis
Finally, Doug is a member of virtually every major numismatic organization, professional trade group and major coin association in the US.