Type 1, Capped Bust, Large Bust

Obverse of 1807 Capped Bust $5
Reverse of 1807 Capped Bust $5

Ron Guth: John Reich came out with a completely new design for the $5 gold piece mid-1807. Reich turned Liberty's head 180 degrees so that she faced left and he enlarged the overall size of the head and the bust by lowering the cap Liberty wore on her head. Henceforth, the standard format was to include 13 stars. Reich redesigned the reverse by giving the eagle a more natural pose than on the heraldic eagle design (though eagle's do not normally carry shields on their breasts). The motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM" was added on a scroll hovering in the upper reverse field. The denomination, lacking on previous versions, was now clearly displayed as "5 D." at the bottom of the reverse.

The new design was short-lived and ran from 1807 to 1812 before it was revamped again. All of the dates of this type have high mintages for early American gold coins. The 1810 was the first half eagle with a mintage that exceeded 100,000 coins (a number that remained unbeaten until it was crushed in 1820). All dates can be found in a wide range of conditions, up to and including Mint State. As are most early gold coins, these Large, Capped Bust Half Eagles get very pricey as the grade increases. Original, uncleaned examples with fresh, damage-free surfaces are very scarce and extremely desirable.

Varieties include the 1808/7 and 1809/8 overdates plus variations in the size of the dates and denominations on 1810, and the denominations in 1811.