P. Scott Rubin: The 1827 Half Eagle is a very rare coin with estimated survival numbers from a low of 20 to a high of 45. It appears that the correct number maybe in the middle of these two extremes. One of the amazing aspects of this rare coin is that virtually all known specimens survive in Mint State condition. It is a fact that this year’s Half Eagle has been available at auction multiple times every decade since the 1860’s, showing that it was probably collector interest in this coin at an early date that fueled its survival in Mint State condition.
David Akers makes mention of Proofs existing of this coin, however, it appears that all purported Proofs are really Proof like Uncirculated coins (this includes the specimen in the Smithsonian collection).
It is interesting to note that the most extreme variation in condition for 1827 Half Eagles happened in the 19th century auctions of the coin. The coins graded at the time as Very Fine are in all probability specimens that are now graded About Uncirculated or MS-60 or MS-61 today. Also, those graded Proof are the Proof-like examples we see infrequently today.
David Akers (1975/88): The 1827 is extremely rare and all but a few of the known specimens are uncirculated, some of them gem quality. The 1827 is more rare than the 1821, 1825/1 or 1826 and also somewhat more rare than the 1824. It is not quite as rare as the 1815, 1819, or either 1828 but nevertheless, I would estimate that at most 20 specimens exist including just two or three proofs. The EF listing in the Farouk catalogue is misleading and inaccurate since the cataloguers were (1) unfamiliar with grading early U.S. gold coins and (2) guilty of the worst cataloguing style in numismatic history (a book could be written on the subject). The coin is the same one that later appeared at the 1976 ANA Sale where it was more correctly catalogued as uncirculated.
Superior 9/1997:2930, $100,100
Stack's 1/2008:921, $32,2000
Stack's “Farish Baldenhofer” 11/1955:1244 - Stack's 5/1958:1234 - Bowers & Merena 3/1989:618 - Superior “Thomas Chalkley” 1/1990:4605 - Michael Keston Collection - Superior 1/1996:117 - Heritage 8/1996:5763 - Superior “Wes Rasmussen” 2/1998:3400 - James Swan Collection - American Numismatic Rarities “Oliver Jung” 7/2004:93 - Bowers & Merena 7/2006:1593 - Donald E. Bently Collection - Heritage 1/2014:5433, $141,000
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