1843-O $5 Large Letters VF35

PCGS#: 8216

Owner's Comments

Estimated grade. Ex. Stacks Metro NY Sale (1959) Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $1430

Expert Comments

David Akers (1975/88): From the breakdown in the mintage that is usually given, that is 19,075 for the Small Letters variety and 82,000 for the Large Letters variety, one would normally assume that the Large Letters variety is by far the more common of the two. I have not found this to be the case, however, and I suspect that the mintage was actually rather evenly divided between the two varieties. At any rate, in my 337 catalog survey, the 1843-O Large Letters proved to be just as rare as the Small Letters variety at all grade levels. Most known specimens are well worn, VF to EF being typical. Strictly uncirculated examples may exist but I have personally never seen one.Doug Winter: The 1843-O Large Letters is the more common of the two varieties of the two varieties of half eagles struck at the New Orleans mint in 1843. This was clearly the second variety struck as the reverse displays the same size lettering as on all subsequent Liberty Head half eagles from 1844 onwards. This is one of the more common New Orleans half eagles from the 1840s, trailing only the 1844-O and the 1840-O in terms of overall rarity.

It is reasonably easy to locate in VF and EF grades but it becomes scarce in the lower AU grades. It is rare in About Uncirculated and very rare in Uncirculated. There appear to be at least four or five different MS63 to MS64 examples known; enough to suggest that there may have been a small hoard at one time.

STRIKE: This variety is better struck than the 1843-O Small Letters. The obverse is often found with very sharp detail including sharp centers. On late die states, stars seven through ten are thin from lapping and appear different in shape than the first six and final two stars. The reverse is also well struck although it is not uncommon for examples to have some weakness on the eagle’s right leg and the wing tips. Late die states show considerable weakness on the tops of many of the letters in the legend.

SURFACES: The surfaces tend to be abraded, although not as prominently as on the Small Letters variety of this year. There are at least a few known which show prominent mint-made lines in the planchet. On one piece (ex: Milas: 453), these lines are on the obverse only while on another (ex: Heritage 1/31/04: 6975) they are seen on both sides. There are enough reasonably clear examples known that the collector should be patient and wait for a coin that is pleasing, as it is likely to become available in a reasonable period of time.

LUSTER: This variety has good luster with a frosty texture. Some pieces have a good deal of die rust on the portrait and the luster is grainy in texture as a result. There are a few known that are semi-prooflike, an example of which is the Milas: 452 coin. Many have impaired luster either from heavy abrasions or having been cleaned in recent years.

COLORATION: The natural coloration is light to medium yellow-gold. Some are seen with more of an orange-gold color and at least a few are known that have fairly deep reddish-gold overtones. There are not many examples remaining that have not been cleaned or dipped.

EYE APPEAL: The eye appeal for this issue ranges considerably. There are some very attractive higher grade pieces known with a sharp strike, good color and luster and minimal marks. Most collectors are likely to be offered pieces that have some weakness of detail as a result of die lapping as well as bright, unnatural color.

DIE CHARACTERISTICS: On the obverse there is a small straight line that juts out from the southwest corner of the second star. This may not be visible on lower grade coins. On the reverse, the top of the first pair of vertical stripes extends well into the horizontal lines in the shield. The first line in the second pair extends as well.

MAJOR VARIETIES: There is a single variety known:

Variety One: The obverse appears to be the same as that used on the Small Letters variety, but with some rust on the portrait. Late die states show lapping that has noticeably thinned stars seven through ten. A crack begins at the twelfth star and extends into the field towards the portrait. The mintmark is large and placed over the VE in FIVE. On late die states, the tops of many of the legend letters are weak. Die cracks join many of the letters. These ultimately become very pronounced.

Diameter: 21.65 millimeters Designer: Christian Gobrecht Edge: Reeded
Mintage: 82,000 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 275 R-6.5 71 / 112 TIE 107 / 218 TIE
60 or Better 7 R-9.6 44 / 112 TIE 71 / 218 TIE
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 112 1 / 218

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS64 estimated grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade
2 MS63 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 estimated grade