Estimated grade. Sold by Bowers and Merena Nov '83 price realized $880
Doug Winter: The 1841-D half eagle is one of the more available Dahlonega half eagles from the 1840’s in high grades.
The 1841-D half eagle is a relatively easy issue to obtain in lower grades and it is more available in high grades than other dates of this era. Despite their occasional availability, Uncirculated examples are still highly prized and very desirable.
STRIKE: This is a better struck issue than either the 1839-D or the 1840-D half eagles. The obverse shows a fairly good strike with both the hair and the stars sharp. There is sometimes a slightly convex appearance to the obverse and, interestingly, the reverse does not appear concave. This gives the appearance of the two sides appearing slightly mismatched. The reverse shows good detail except for the eagle’s right leg and the tops of the arrow feathers which can be weak.
SURFACES: Many have medium to heavy abrasions on their surfaces. It is not unusual for an example to have mint-made planchet faults or small areas of granularity.
LUSTER: The 1841-D half eagle has above-average luster for a Dahlonega half eagle from this era. High grade pieces typically show good luster with a frosty, somewhat reflective texture. A few are known that have reflective, semi-prooflike fields.
COLORATION: A wide range of colors have been seen on uncleaned, original examples. Some have a pleasing medium to deep orange-gold coloration while others have a lighter greenish-gold hue. This issue has become harder to locate with original coloration since the first edition of this book was released as a result for the current disregard for originality by all but a handful of specialists.
EYE APPEAL: This date can be found with very good eye appeal. A number of very choice, original high grade pieces exist and they traded with some regularity in the mid to late 1990’s. Most of these have now found homes in private collections and are off the market.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: The finest known 1841-D half eagle is a superb PCGS grade4d Mint State-65 that first surfaced in Stack’s October 1994 sale of the James Stack collection. It sold for $88,000 at that sale which was, to the best of my knowledge, and auction record for any Dahlonega gold coin at the time.
DIE VARIETIES: Three die varieties are known.
Variety 5-B: Tall D (sometimes referred to as "Medium D").
Variety 5-D: Small D. This reverse was used only in 1841. The mintmark is positioned closer to the tip of the feather than on the 1841-D Medium D. The feather tip is positioned over the center of the opening in the mintmark while the upright of the mintmark is over the right serif of the left diagonal of the V in FIVE. The right edge of the mintmark is positioned over the right edge of the V in FIVE. There is an unusual small hollow round spot on the top of the second vertical shield stripe that looks like somewhat like a misplaced circular punch in the die.
Two major die states are known:
STATE I: Repunching can be seen on the date; otherwise the obverse shows no trace of a die crack.
STATE II: The repunching is still present but it has faded. A crack has formed on the obverse which eventually runs from the denticles between 84, through the curls and the BE in LIBERTY and then to the denticles to the right of the seventh star.
Variety 6-D: Small D (same reverse as on Variety 5-D; different obverse). On this variety, all four date numerals show repunching, which is not seen on the other obverse. In addition, the date is positioned very slightly lower. This variety is usually seen with noticeable cracks but these are different than those seen on the late die sate of Variety 5-D. The strongest crack runs diagonally from rim to rim, beginning at 12:00, descending vertically through the portrait, going through the 84 in the date and ending at the rim at 6:00. The other runs rim to rim from 10:00 across the upper two points of star five, across the field and forehead of Liberty, her eyebrow, then into her hair where it joins the vertical crack just described below the E in LIBERTY. This variety was first described as Lot 902 in the October 1999 Bass II sale.Gordon Wrubel: The Small D reverse has a very small mint mark that is about HALF the size of the D in the denomination "FIVE D". The "Tall" D reverse has a mint mark that is the SAME size as the D in the denomination.
David Akers (1975/88): The 1841-D is very nearly as rare as the 1841-C and it is also at least as rare as the 1840-D or 1839-D, except in AU or Unc. Although a few uncirculated specimens are known, well worn VF or EF examples are typical.