Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 60

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Lot 2859

1839-D $5 Liberty. NGC graded AU-58. Obverse mintmark. Light gold toning. 18,939 struck. The 1839-D half eagle is a distinct (and distinctive looking) one-year Type. It displays the Gobrecht-designed Liberty Head with mintmark above the date on the obverse. This head design is a precursor to the one adopted for the 1840-1861 issues, but few are aware there are differences. Also noteworthy is that 1839-D is rarer than the 1838-D, especially in high grades. There may be as few as 25 to 30 in AU with another half dozen or so in Mint condition. The present specimen is a well struck coin. The obverse has nice detail including full stars; on the reverse we see everything is exceptionally sharp. That includes full feathers on the eagle's legs and wingtips, full denticles around. An all-around pleasing AU58 example of this desirable D-mint release. Pop 19; 5 finer (PCGS # 8193) .

1839. Those were the days. A colorful character who has since dropped out of history made front-page news the year of this Half Eagle. In 1839, the first woman horse thief in America published her confessions. Josephine Amelia Perkins, born and raised in England, stole her first horse from her own father for her elopement. Eventually she came to America completely broke, and continued her career of horse-stealing. She herself admitted to being "4 times detected, twice pardoned on account of my sex, once for reasons of supposed insanity, and the 4th and last time, convicted and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment in Madison County jail, Kentucky." (The report doesn't say whether or not she later ran for Congress.) Continuing on the subject of the fair sex, the Mar. 3, 1839, New York Mirror ran with the following as a program for a dinner conversation: "When you are seated next to a lady, you should be only polite during the 1st course; you may be gallant in the 2nd; but you must not be tender till the dessert."
Estimated Value $11,000 - 12,000.

Realized $14,375

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