Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1258

1834 Plain 4 Capped Head to Left $5 BD-1. NGC graded MS-64. NGC serial number 1785880-008. A nice bold strike with glittering frosty mint surfaces that are slightly reflective. A very rare lower mintage date.

The Coinage Act of June 28, 1834, which set August 1 as the effective date, specified a new 129 grain standard for the gold half eagle. The Act specified that earlier pieces coined at the previous standard were to be received at the rate of $5.095 each, very nearly the actual gold value at the time. The majority of "old tenor" With Motto coins were eventually redeemed and melted. Few 1834 Capped Head half eagles survive today from that group, and seldom are they found in grades approaching this.

Focusing first on the luster, the surfaces are judged by us to be bright gold in color, and quite apart from the freedom of any serious marks, highly lustrous, with the MS64 grade acting on behalf of its outstanding quality. At the moment when luster is a key determinant of the grade, it goes without saying the devices should also be struck boldly by the dies. And here, the coin is bold throughout with the possible exception (if one were to be critical about it) of the lovelock curl next to Liberty's ear. Stars are all bold excepting the 12th and 13th, which are slightly rounded. The prooflike tendency of the surface acts to amplify any hairlines but fortunately these are few, with the only noticeable one extending from the I in UNITED to the eagle's leg. There is a thin die break passing from the denomination to RICA in AMERICA. Pop 2; tied for finest graded. The NGC holder incorrectly lists this as a "Classic" $5.00 (PCGS # 8160) .

The mintage for the six dates of this type, mid-1829 to mid-1834 is actually higher than that of the previous type that was intermittently struck, although for more years, from 1813 through 1829. Most of the earlier production was exported and melted, as the gold content exceeded the face value until the reduction in mid-1834. After 1821, no gold was seen in local circulation until the lighter-weight coins were introduced after August 1, 1834. Most of the examples of this type found are in high grade due to hoarding and melting with low-grade examples seldom seen. There has been speculation that most of the old tenor 1834 With Motto coinage was not released but was melted at the Mint. There is no physical evidence to support this assertion, as depositors would have demanded their coins. Breen noted that of the 74,709 possibly struck of this date/type, 24,568 were melted. This leaves a net mintage of 50,141. This figure is the number of coins that were delivered, but nearly all gold coins were exported and melted, especially after 1821. [Dannreuther p.413 & p.435.].
Estimated Value $100,000 - 125,000.

Realized $109,250

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