Estimated grade. Ex. Green; Farouk (1954) Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $4675
Doug Winter: The 1849-D half eagle is very similar in rarity to the 1848-D. Like the 1848-D, it is a coin whose true rarity (especially in high grades) has not yet been fully acknowledged.
The 1849-D half eagle is usually found in Very Fine to Extremely Fine grades. It is sometimes seen in About Uncirculated-50 but it is quite rare in any About Uncirculated grade above this. In full Mint State, the 1849-D is an extremely rare coin.
STRIKE: The 1849-D is one of the last half eagles from this mint which can be consistently found with an acceptable strike. Most have better overall definition on the obverse than on the reverse. The area on the obverse which is most likely to show weakness is the curls below IBER in LIBERTY. The rest of the detail is usually sharp, including the stars and denticles. The reverse is often somewhat weak on the tips of the wing, the lower part of the neck and the right leg and claw.
SURFACES: A number are known which show mint-made areas of granularity. Most are heavily marked but it is possible to locate an 1849-D half eagles which is not covered with detracting abrasions.
LUSTER: The luster tends to be frosty in texture. A few are known which are slightly reflective in the fields.
COLORATION: Original, uncleaned pieces show coloration which ranges from medium green-gold to deep orange-gold. Most have been cleaned or dipped and no longer show original coloration.
EYE APPEAL: Compared to some of the other Dahlonega half eagles of the 1840’s, the 1849-D shows above average eye appeal. There are a number of well struck, attractive examples in existence.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: The 1849-D half eagle is a reasonably common coin in most circulated grades but it is extremely rare in Uncirculated. As with the similarly dated quarter eagle, it may be overlooked due to the 1849-D gold dollar being fairly available in Uncirculated.
DIE VARIETIES: Three die varieties are currently known.
Variety 21-N: On obverse, the date is not as well centered as on the next variety and is positioned higher in relation to the neck. The reverse is the same as described for Variety 19-N, except that there is absolutely no trace of the mispunched mintmark. It is not known which of the two 1849-D half eagle varieties is rarer.
Variety 22-L: On the obverse, the date is well centered in the space between the neck and the denticles. The reverse has a high mintmark that touches both the stem and the feather. The left edge of the mintmark is over the center of the right diagonal of the V in FIVE.
Variety 22-N: This is a newly discovered variety that combines the obverse and reverse dies listed above. It appears to be very rare.
David Akers (1975/88): This is a very rare date in all grades, more so than the D Mint coins from 1843 to 1847 and roughly comparable to the 1848-D and 1850-D. It is much more rare as a date than the 1851-D, 1852-D, 1853-D and 1854-D and it has actually had fewer auction appearances than some of the lower mintage D Mint Half Eagles from 1855 to 1860. Almost uncirculated pieces are extremely rare and I have never personally seen a strictly uncirculated example. Once again, VF or EF is the quality one should expect.