The year 1838 was an important one in the history of U.S. Numismatics. Three branch mints began operations that year; all in the South, and all three would be cease operations with the beginning of the Civil War. The discovery of gold in the Southeast led to the opening of mints in Charlotte, North Carolina and Dahlonega, Georgia. These two mints would strike Quarter and Half Eagles through 1861. The third mint, in New Orleans, was both more versatile and longer lived. It struck both Silver and Gold though 1861, and was then reopened in 1879 where it stuck coins for another thirty years. In addition to the opening of the branch mints, the design of the silver coinage was in transition as well. The Quarter appeared this year with both the earlier Capped Bust design as well as Gobrecht's new Liberty Seated Design. The Half Dimes and Dimes had switched to the Liberty Seated design the previous year, but experimentation was ongoing, with varieties with and without stars of the obverse, and with and without drapery still being tried. The Half Dollar still carried the older Capped Bust design. Of the silver coins, the 1838-O No Drapery coins are scarce in high grades. The newly opened Charlotte Mint struck 7,880 Classic Head Quarter Eagles this year, and they are tough in Mint State, with half a dozen pieces certified by PCGS in all MS grades. They command prices in the mid five figures today. Half Eagles were struck in both Charlotte and Dahlonega, as well as Philadelphia. The two branch issues are both in highly sought after being the only mintmarked coins of the entire type. Both are scarce in high grade, but the Charlotte issue much more so. Any mint state piece will bring a low to mid five figure price also. The Eagle returned to production after a 34 year hiatus, and a distinct head style was used for the 1838 (and some 1839) issues. Consequently it is quite popular and desirable, and a decent XF or AU will cross into the five figure range as well.
Notes: This set has bonuses. Please see the Set Composition for a listing.