Estimated grade. Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $275
David Akers (1975/88): The 1844-O, although scarce, is by far the most common No Motto New Orleans Mint Half Eagle. The majority of known pieces are only VF or EF but there are also a fair number of AU and a small number of strictly uncirculated pieces known. There is one known proof (PCGS CoinFacts #8456) (a matching 1844-O proof Eagle also exists) from the famous Parmelee Collection where it was described as a "Sharp, perfect proof."Doug Winter: The 1844-O is by far the most available No Motto New Orleans half eagle. This is due to the record production of 364,000 pieces; a figure that represents close to half the entire mintage figure for all twelve of the No Motto issues of this denomination and mint. Only one other gold coin struck in New Orleans – the 1847-O eagle – had a higher mintage than the 1844- O half eagle.
The 1844-O is the most common No Motto half eagle from the New Orleans mint. It is readily available in the lower circulated grades and can be found in the middle to upper ranges of AU without much difficulty. It is scarce in MS60 to MS61, very scarce in MS62, rare in MS63 and very rare above this. There is one Gem Uncirculated and one Proof currently known.
STRIKE: This is generally a very well struck issue. The obverse often shows nearly full definition, although there may be some weakness on the curls below BERT in LIBERTY. The reverse tends to be not quite as well struck, although it is still well detailed by the standards of No Motto New Orleans half eagles. There is sometimes weakness seen on the eagle’s neck and upper leg feathers as well as on the horizontal lines of the shield. With some patience, the collector should be able to locate a well struck example of this date.
SURFACES: Most 1844-O half eagles are seen with a good number of scuffmarks on the surfaces. This tends to be the case even on the higher grade examples that are known. The collector who is offered a coin that is nice but overly abraded should wait for a better coin as it is likely to become available.
LUSTER: Around three-quarters of the examples that I have seen show frosty luster; sometimes with a pillowy texture in the fields that is very appealing. Others show a prooflike surface which ranges from slightly reflective to fully reflective. Coins that are fully prooflike are rare but do not tend to command a premium. The luster on this issue tends to be better than on any other New Orleans half eagle.
COLORATION: This is one of the few No Motto New Orleans half eagles for which it is still possible to locate a higher grade coin which retains original color. There are some 1844-O half eagles that have a rich green-gold hue, while others are a deep orange-gold with reddish overtones.
EYE APPEAL: The 1844-O half eagle is a well-produced issue that is often found with very good eye appeal. A number of higher grade pieces are sharply struck, have good luster and decent surfaces and retain some natural color. With patience, the date or type collector should be able to find a suitable piece for his set.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: On some pieces, the obverse die shows signs of rust. There are no significant characteristics on the reverse.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There are two major varieties known, with the second of these actually being a distinct die state of the first. All 1844-O half eagles have a large mintmark that is positioned above the VE in FIVE.
Variety One: The stars are normal and there are no die cracks. On the later die state, there is some rust seen on the neck of Liberty and in the reverse fields.
This is the more common of the two varieties.
Variety Two: The dies have been lapped due to die rust. Some of this rust can still be seen on Liberty’s face and throat. The stars are now thin as a result of this lapping. The ones that are most affected are stars four through nine and stars eleven through twelve. There are at least three die states, which are as follows:
State I: A reverse crack begins at the rim, goes through ES in STATES and into the field through the eagle’s beak.
State II: A second crack has formed. It begins to the left of the U in UNITED and goes through the eagle’s right wing.
State III: These two cracks join and bisect the reverse. This crack becomes very bold.
This latest die state is rare.
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