David Akers (1975/88): In 1839, the head of Liberty was remodeled and this new design continued unchanged, except for the addition of the Motto above the eagle in 1866, until 1907. This second issue of 1839 is not only the first year of this type, it is also the first in a long line of extremely underrated issues. In my opinion, the Liberty Head Eagle series contains the most underrated and unappreciated of all U.S. gold coins. Almost without exception Liberty Head Eagles prior to 1880 are very rare in AU or Uncirculated condition and many are unknown in those grades. While lacking the numerous "date rarities" of the Half Eagle series, the Eagle series is the premier series of U.S. coins when it comes to "condition rarity", and all of the "impossible-to-obtain-in-high-grade" issues are of the Liberty Head type.
The 1839 Type of '40 is very rare in any condition and most known specimens are VF or EF. Several mint state examples are known with the Jay specimen, a gen, possibly the finest although the 1976 ANA coin was also choice. As a date, this is significantly more rare than either the 1839 Type of '38 or the 1838.
No proofs are known.Doug Winter: This issue was created after the Eagle design was remodeled in 1839 and it is appreciably different from the Type of 1838 that was produced earlier in the year. it is rare in all grades with an estimated 50-60 known from the original mintage of 12,447. This issue is usually seen in very low grades with VF20 to EF40 examples being typical. It becomes rare in AU with around ten or so properly graded pieces known. In Uncirculated it is slightly more available than other rarities in the series. I would estimate that there are three or four known. The finest (and one of my single favorite American coins) is Pittman: 1912, ex: Farouk, Woodin. This coin sold for $143,000 back in May, 1998 and is now graded MS64 by NGC.
William Woodin - Virgil Brand (#57064) - King Farouk - Sotheby's 1954 - John Jay Pittman - David Akers 5/1988:1912, $143,000
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