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.
1843 is an interesting transitional year for reverse varieties on half eagles. All Philadelphia, Dahlonega and the majority of New Orleans pieces have large letters on the reverse. The 1843-C, however, has small letters as on the issues struck from 1839 through 1842. This changed in 1844 when all four mints employed a large letters reverse.
A significant percentage of the surviving 1843-C half eagles are in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine grade range. About Uncirculated examples are very scarce and properly graded AU55 to AU58 pieces are rare. This date is a bit more available in Uncirculated than in the past, but it is still a genuinely rare coin at this level with probably no more than nine to ten currently known.
The 1843-C is a coin that has finally been recognized as scarce issue. It is, however, less rare in high grade than when the second edition of this book was released, possibly due to the discovery of a small hoard of pieces in the MS62 to MS63 range.
STRIKE: This issue is better struck than the 1842-C Large Date. The obverse is mostly well detailed although many are weak on the curl below the ear. The remainder of the hair is sharp with the exception of the curls around the face. The stars are sharp as are the denticles. The reverse is sharper than the obverse. There is often moderate localized weakness on the eagle’s right leg and the upper portion of the neck but the feathers and the claws tend to be sharp. The lettering and the denticles are also clearly defined. The diameters on this issue appear wider than on any other Charlotte half eagle, typically measuring 22.5mm or more. This gives the 1843-C half eagle a very distinctive appearance.
SURFACES: Most examples are heavily abraded. These marks tend to be deep and detracting making this issue hard to find with good eye appeal. I have seen a number of 1843-C half eagles that had pronounced mint-made striations in the fields. Others have planchet defects, as made, on the obverse and reverse.
LUSTER: Higher grade 1843-C half eagles show very good luster with a thick, frosty texture. Nearly all the Uncirculated pieces that I have seen appear at auction in the last few years have a similar appearance and are distinguished by excellent luster. Their similar overall appearance is what leads me to believe that there was a small hoard which has been quietly dispersed during the past few years.
COLORATION: Original, uncleaned pieces often display a pleasing rich orange-gold hue. It is difficult to locate one with nice color but they can be found from time to time.
EYE APPEAL: This date seems to have been heavily used in local commerce and the typical surviving example is well circulated with numerous deep marks. A collector who is patient should be able to find an acceptable 1843-C half eagle but most of the pleasing coins tend to be much higher grade and much higher priced. Attractive lower priced specimens (in the VF and EF range) are extremely hard to find.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There are no significant die characteristics seen on this issue.
DIE VARIETIES: Two die varieties are known.
Variety 1 (formerly variety 6-C): The 1 in the date is closer to the denticles than to the bust. The 3 is centered between the bust and the denticles. The reverse is the same as that used on half eagles dated 1841 and 1842.
There are two die states known:
Die State 1: Perfect dies.
Die State 11: There is a li9ght crack from the eagles’ left wing tip to the rim.
Variety 2 (unlisted in prior editions of this book): The obverse is the same as the last. The mintmark location is similar to that seen on Variety 1 but it is nearly centered over the V while on the Variety 1 it is centered over the right half of the V.
It appears that these two varieties are of roughly equal rarity.
David Akers (1975/88):
Despite its substantially higher mintage, the 1843-C is almost as rare as the C mint coins from 1839-1842. The typically seen piece is in the VF to EF range and AU examples are rare. I have seen only one strictly uncirculated piece and it is doubtful if more than a few others survive. All 1843-C half Eagles have the Small Letters reverse.
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