1842-C $5 Small Date VF20

CERTIFICATION#: -35302
PCGS#: 8208

Owner's Comments

Estimated grade. Ex. Green; Farouk (1954) Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $33000

Expert Comments

Doug Winter: Two half eagle varieties were produced at the Charlotte Mint in 1842. It is likely the small Date coins were struck first, as they show the same date size as seen on the Charlotte half eagles dated 1841.

The 1842-C Small Date is the rarest half eagle from this mint and the rarest collectible coin from Charlotte. It is usually found in grades below Extremely Fine and properly graded EF40 and EF45 pieces are rare. This date is very rare in properly graded AU50 and extremely rare in AU55 to AU58. I have seen only one example that I felt was truly Uncirculated, but there are at least two or three others that have been graded Mint State...

STRIKE: The quality of strike seen on this issue depends on the die state. The coins that were struck earliest show a reasonably good quality of strike. The obverse typically has some minor weakness below ERT in LIBERTY and on the curl below the ear. The rest of the obverse is sharp, with good detail noted at the top of the hair detail on the bun and the top of the head is less sharp. The reverse is always better struck than the obverse. The only area that is likely to show weakness is the bottom of the eagle’s neck and the horizontal lines in the shield. The diameter of the border on the obverse of this variety is noticeable wider than on the 1842-C Large Date and this is another easy way to tell the two varieties apart.

SURFACE: The 1842-C Small Date seems to have seen extensive circulation and most pieces are densely abraded with deep, detracting marks. I have also seen a number that had small mint-made defects on the surfaces that resemble pits or flakes. Most examples have been cleaned at one time and show hairlines as a result.

LUSTER: The typical 1842-C Small Date has enough wear that there is little remaining luster. On those coins that are not heavily worn, the luster is excellent with a frosty and slightly grainy texture. The luster is impaired on many coins with Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated detail because they have been cleaned. In my opinion, this is probably the single hardest Charlotte coin to find with original color and surfaces.

COLORATION: On the few existing pieces that retain their original color, these show very attractive deep green-gold or medium orange-gold hues. An 1842-C Small Date half eagle with original color is very rare and should command a strong premium over the typical washed-out or processed example.

EYE APPEAL: I doubt if more than a half dozen pieces are known that have good eye appeal...The typical piece shows extensive wear, heavy marks and obvious signs of having been cleaned. There are more low grade examples in existence than one might expect (I have seen pieces that grade as low as Very Good) and this includes a decent number that have either been harshly cleaned or which show severe enough damage that they will not be encapsulated by the major grading services.

DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There are no prominent die characteristics seen on the 1842-C Small Date half eagle.

DIE VARIETIES: Only one variety is known.

Variety 1 (formerly Variety 4-C): This is variety is immediately identifiable by having a small date. The 2 is centered in the field between the bust and the denticles. The reverse is the same as seen on the 1841-C Half Eagle.

Two die states are known:

Die State I: Perfect obverse. This die state probably represents the first 2,555 pieces that were produced on March 22, 1842.

Die State II: There is an obverse rim cud at 12:00. Approximately three-quarters of all the known examples are from this state of the dies.David Akers (1975/88): Without question, the 1842-C Small date Half Eagle is the rarest Half Eagle from the Charlotte Mint. Indeed, with the exception of the 1849-C Open Wreath Gold Dollar it is the rarest Charlotte Mint gold coin of any denomination. It is far more rare than the 1855-C Gold Dollar, the 1843-C Small Date Quarter Eagle, or the 1861-C Half Eagle, its only real competitors. I have seen relatively few specimens, none of which were better than EF. Some specimens I have seen had a prominent die break in the obverse rim at 12 o'clock.Gordon Wrubel: The bottom of the 8 on the Small Date Charlotte $5. is ABOVE the baseline of the adjacent 1 and 4. The Large Date has a larger 8 puncheon and its base is BELOW the adjacent 1. The Small Date variety is about four times rarer than the Large Date in numbers extant. Both are rare in Mint State but the Small is about twice as rare as the Large Date.

Ron Guth: PCGS has identified four examples that can be considered Mint State:

PCGS MS63+
Heritage 1/2009:4069, $126,500
No obverse cud

PCGS MS62 (now NGC MS63)
Bell Collection - Numismatic Gallery 3/1948 - NERCA 1/1982:1407 - Stanley Elrod Collection - Paul Dingler Collection - Pinnacle Rarities/Heritage Rare Coin Galleries - Heritage 1/2005:30451, $150,001.40 - subsequently graded NGC MS63.  The plate coin in Doug Winter’s “Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861”, 3rd ed.
No obverse cud

PCGS MS62
Obverse cud

MS62 estimated grade
Heritage 1/2012:4879, $166,750
No obverse cud

 

Diameter: 21.65 millimeters Designer: Christian Gobrecht Edge: Reeded
Mintage: 4,595 Weight: 8.24 grams Metal Content: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades Survival Estimate Numismatic Rarity Relative Rarity by Type Relative Rarity by Series
All Grades 110 R-7.9 39 / 112 TIE 61 / 218 TIE
60 or Better 3 R-9.8 18 / 112 TIE 31 / 218 TIE
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 112 1 / 218

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS63+ PCGS grade Heritage 1/2009:4069, $126,500
2 MS62 PCGS grade
2 MS62 PCGS grade  

Bell Collection - Numismatic Gallery 3/1948 - NERCA 1/1982:1407 - Stanley Elrod Collection - Paul Dingler Collection - Pinnacle Rarities/Heritage Rare Coin Galleries - Heritage 1/2005:30451, $150,001.40 - subsequently graded NGC MS63

The plate coin in Doug Winter’s “Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861”, 3rd ed.

2 MS62 estimated grade   Heritage 1/2012:4879, $166,750
5 AU58 PCGS grade