David Akers (1975/88)
This is a very interesting major variety that can easily be seen with the naked eye. The 180 of the date was originally punched with the punches intended for Eagles and the error was corrected by repunching using the correct size numerals. As a variety, this is similar in overall rarity to the 1804 Small 8 and more scarce than the other 19th Century Half Eagles of this type with the exception of the 1806 Pointed 6. This variety is available in all grades up to and including choice uncirculated. However, choice specimens bring high prices today due to the popularity of early U.S. gold coins in choice condition.
The 1804 Small 8 over Large 8 is an interesting "eyeball" variety that shows a dramatic double punching of the 8 of the date, first with a large, oversized 8, followed by a smaller 8. The reason for the overpunching is unknown, but it may have been done to correct the visual imbalance created by the use of the large 8. In most overpunchings, the engraver relies on the fact that much of the original digit is either effaced by the second digit, or the traces can be removed later by polishing. In this case, the size difference between the two digits is so significant that the smaller 8 had no chance of covering the large 8. Either no attempt was made to polish off the underlying 8 or it was ineffective.
The 1804 Small 8 over Large 8 Half Eagle is not particularly rare, and a fair number of About Uncirculated examples exist to satisfy collector demand. The PCGS Condition Census includes grades ranging from MS-62 to MS-64, where PCGS has certified two examples as finest of the variety.