The Survival Estimate represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in three categories: 1) all grades, 2) 60 or better, and 3) 65 or better. These estimates are based on a variety of sources, including population reports, auction appearances, and personal knowledge. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Numismatic Rarity converts the Survival Estimate for a particular coin into a number from 1 to 10 (with decimal increments) based on the PCGS Rarity Scale. The higher the number, the more rare the coin.
Relative Rarity By Type
Relative Rarity By Type ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Type. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
Relative Rarity By Series
Relative Rarity By Series ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Series. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
The 1842-D Large Date and Letters variety was created when a new pair of dies [was] shipped to Dahlonega in the fall of 1842. The rarity of this issue suggests that the reported mintage figure may possibly include coins dated 1843 or that a number of pieces were melted. This is a truly rare coin which does not receive the attention it merits.
The 1842-D Large Date and Letters half eagle is scarce in any grade. It is most often seen very well worn and any piece which grades Extremely Fine is very rare. This issue is extremely rare in accurately graded About Uncirculated and just one (or possibly two) Uncirculated pieces exist.
STRIKE: The 1842-D Large Date and Letters half eagle is usually better struck than its Small Date counterpart. On the obverse, the curls below the word LIBERTY are often sharp although they may show some weakness. The area which is most likely to be weak is the hair at the top of the head. The border is sharp with the stars and denticles well-defined. On the reverse, the detail is good and many are completely struck up on the eagle’s legs and claws.
SURFACES: The surfaces on nearly every known example are extremely heavily abraded and have a choppy appearance. In addition, most have been cleaned. On coins which are more or less original, the appearance of the surfaces is somewhat dirty. All known examples show a series of fine raised die scratches just past the thirteenth star. This is one of the most difficult Dahlonega issues of any denomination to locate with acceptable surfaces.
LUSTER: Only a handful of 1842-D Large Date and Letters half eagles have any remaining luster. On a few high grade pieces which exist, the luster is satiny and somewhat grainy in texture.
COLORATION: Coins which have original, uncleaned surfaces are most likely to show deep green-gold color. I have not seen more than three or four that were fully original.
EYE APPEAL: This is the most difficult Dahlonega half eagle to locate with any eye appeal. Most examples are well worn, heavily abraded and cleaned. I have seen just a handful of 1842-D Large Date and Letters half eagles with what I would consider to have good or even above-average eye appeal.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: The 1842-D Large Date half eagle is probably the single rarest issue from this mint in About Uncirculated-55 and above. I am aware of just three nice pieces: the Duke’s Creek/Eliasberg coin, the Green Pond/North Georgia coin and the Byron Reed coin (which was dipped after its first sale and lost much of its initial eye appeal). The first two specimens have clear claims to Uncirculated status but are not clear-cut Mint State coins. If a choice Uncirculated 1942-D Large Date were to enter the market, it is likely that it would set a record for the highest-priced Dahlonega half eagle.
DIE VARIETIES: Only one die variety is known.
Variety 9-G: Large Date with the date well centered. The reverse was used only in 1842 and it has a Large Letters reverse. The Small D mintmark is centered between the feather tip and the V in FIVE. The tip of the feather is positioned over the opening in the mintmark and the upright of the D is over the gap between the diagonals of the V. The left edge of the D is over the center of the left diagonal of the V while the right edge of the D is over the right edge of the V.
David Akers (1975/88):
Historically this date has simply been called the 1842-D Large Date, but since the reverse is the type with large letters while the Small Date variety has the reverse with small letters, it is more appropriate to call this coin 1842-D Large Date, Large Letters. (Note that this is different than the case of the 1842-C varieties where only the date size differs.) In my opinion this is the rarest Dahlonega Mint Half Eagle, more rare in all grades than the more highly regarded 1861-D. In fact, a strong case could be made for this being the rarest D mint coin of any denomination, at least in grades of EF or better. I have seen nothing better than EF and precious few at that condition level. This issue and the 1842 Large Letters are two of the most underrated coins in the Half Eagle series.
Quickfinder Notes: On the Large Date, the base of the 8 is BELOW the BASE of the 1. The 8 on the Small Date variety is slightly ABOVE the BASE of the 1. The Large Date is always seen with a Large Letter reverse; tightly spaced and close to the rim. The Small Date is always seen with the Small Letter reverse. The Large Date is much rarer than the Small Date. It is estimated that less than 100 may exist in all grades. As of this writing, October 2013, only one Mint State example, a 61, has been graded.
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