PCGS: The Standard for the Rare Coin Industry

1838 $5 (Regular Strike)

Series: Classic Head $5 1834-1838

PCGS MS66

PCGS MS66

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PCGS MS65+

PCGS MS65+

PCGS MS65

PCGS MS65

PCGS #:
8176
Designer:
William Kneass
Edge:
Reeded
Diameter:
22.50 millimeters
Weight:
8.24 grams
Mintage:
286,588
Mint:
Philadelphia
Metal:
90% Gold, 10% Copper
Current Auctions - PCGS Graded
Current Auctions - NGC Graded
For Sale Now at Collectors Corner - PCGS Graded
For Sale Now at Collectors Corner - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates Learn More

Grades Survival
Estimate
Numismatic
Rarity
Relative Rarity
By Type
Relative Rarity
By Series
All Grades 700 R-5.6 5 / 8 5 / 8
60 or Better 90 R-8.1 5 / 8 TIE 5 / 8 TIE
65 or Better 8 R-9.6 4 / 8 TIE 4 / 8 TIE
Survival Estimate
All Grades 700
60 or Better 90
65 or Better 8
Numismatic Rarity
All Grades R-5.6
60 or Better R-8.1
65 or Better R-9.6
Relative Rarity By Type All Specs in this Type
All Grades 5 / 8
60 or Better 5 / 8 TIE
65 or Better 4 / 8 TIE
Relative Rarity By Series All Specs in this Series
All Grades 5 / 8
60 or Better 5 / 8 TIE
65 or Better 4 / 8 TIE

Condition Census What Is This?

Pos Grade Image Pedigree and History
1 MS68 PCGS grade

National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

2 MS66 PCGS grade MS66 PCGS grade

Gold Rush Collection - Heritage 1/2005:30048, $126,500 - Madison Collection - Heritage 1/2008:3159, $253,000 - Larry Hanks - D. Brent Pogue Collection

3 MS65+ PCGS grade
Lorin G. Parmelee Collection - New York Coin & Stamp - H.P. Smith & David Proskey 6/1890:1083 - Byron Reed Collection - Spink America 10/1996:126, $121,000 - Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 10/1999:865, $115,000 - D. Brent Pogue Collection
 
This example is fully prooflike and has been called both a Proof (by Akers and Breen) and a Specimen (by NGC) in the past.
4 MS65 PCGS grade

Phinehas Adams Collection - William J. Jenks Collection - John Haseltine 6/1883:375 - George Massamore - T. Harrison Garrett Collection - Robert Garrett Collection - John Work Garrett Collection - Johns Hopkins University Collection - Stack’s 3/1976:371 - Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 10/1999:863, $35,650 - Andrew Nugget, sold privately in 4/2002 - D. Brent Pogue Collection

4 MS65 PCGS grade
5 MS64 PCGS grade
5 MS64 PCGS grade
5 MS64 PCGS grade
5 MS64 PCGS grade
5 MS64 PCGS grade
#1 MS68 PCGS grade

National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

MS66 PCGS grade #2 MS66 PCGS grade

Gold Rush Collection - Heritage 1/2005:30048, $126,500 - Madison Collection - Heritage 1/2008:3159, $253,000 - Larry Hanks - D. Brent Pogue Collection

#3 MS65+ PCGS grade
Lorin G. Parmelee Collection - New York Coin & Stamp - H.P. Smith & David Proskey 6/1890:1083 - Byron Reed Collection - Spink America 10/1996:126, $121,000 - Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 10/1999:865, $115,000 - D. Brent Pogue Collection
 
This example is fully prooflike and has been called both a Proof (by Akers and Breen) and a Specimen (by NGC) in the past.
#4 MS65 PCGS grade

Phinehas Adams Collection - William J. Jenks Collection - John Haseltine 6/1883:375 - George Massamore - T. Harrison Garrett Collection - Robert Garrett Collection - John Work Garrett Collection - Johns Hopkins University Collection - Stack’s 3/1976:371 - Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 10/1999:863, $35,650 - Andrew Nugget, sold privately in 4/2002 - D. Brent Pogue Collection

#4 MS65 PCGS grade
#5 MS64 PCGS grade
#5 MS64 PCGS grade
#5 MS64 PCGS grade
#5 MS64 PCGS grade
#5 MS64 PCGS grade
Ron Guth:

The 1838 Half Eagle is a fairly common coin as far as Classic Head Half Eagles go. It is not as common as the higher-mintage 1834 Plain 4 and the 1836, but it is far less rare than the lower-mintage 1834 Crosslet 4, 1838-C, and 1838-D. Akers wrote that truly choice Uncirculated examples are rare, but the PCGS CoinFacts Condition Census includes ten examples that are at least MS64 or better. The finest example is a phenomenal MS68 (estimated grade) example in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, followed by a single PCGS MS66, then a PCGS MS65+ that is fully prooflike (and has actually been called a Proof in the past by both Walter Breen and David Akers). Akers was correct in noting that this date comes well struck.

David Akers (1975/88): As a date, the 1838 is more rare than the 1834 Plain 4, 1835, or 1836 but not quite as scarce, particularly in choice condition, as the 1837. Most specimens I have seen have been quite well struck. Average uncirculated examples are seen from time to time but truly choice uncirculated pieces are very rare.