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.
David Akers (1975/88):
This date is one of the real "sleepers" of the Half Eagle series, along with such dates as the 1842-C Large Letters, 1842-D Large Date, Large Letters and most of the S Mint coins from 1855 to 1876. It is seldom available in any condition and when one is offered, it is invariably just VF or EF at best. I have never seen an uncirculated piece or anything even close, just a few not-so-choice EF's and a small number of VF's.
The 1847-O is the rarest New Orleans half eagle in terms of overall and high grade rarity. Its closest competitor is the 1842-O, but I have seen a number of examples of that date that grade AU50 or better and just a tiny handful of 1847-O half eagles that even grade EF45. Despite its unquestionable rarity, it remains reasonably unknown outside of specialists.
The 1847-O half eagle is rare in all grades. Probably no more than four dozen are known in all grades and most grade VF35 or lower. Properly graded EF coins are very rare and this date is extremely rare in AU. I have seen two coins that might qualify as Uncirculated by today’s grading standards.
STRIKE: The obverse is generally the less well struck of the two sides. It invariably shows weakness on the curls around the face, the hairbun and the top of the head. The radial lines in the stars are often weak as well. The reverse is better struck and may appear to be a few points higher in grade. The center tends to be better defined than on the obverse although many have weakness on the eagle’s neck.
SURFACES: The typical 1847-O half eagle has very poor quality surfaces. Most pieces are heavily abraded and many have been cleaned as well. A few coins, including the Milas example which is the finest known, have mint-made planchet defects on the surfaces. Clearly this was an issue that was released into circulation and which saw active duty.
LUSTER: Virtually every known 1847-O half eagle has enough wear that there is no luster present. On the few that do show luster, the texture is frosty with slight reflectiveness in the protected areas.
COLORATION: The natural coloration is a very deep green-gold hue. I have not seen more than three or four 1847-O half eagles that have not been cleaned or dipped and retain their original color.
EYE APPEAL: The level of eye appeal is far below average. The typical 1847-O half eagle is well-worn, heavily abraded and has been cleaned at one time. Any piece that is pleasing, even if it grades as low as VF, is extremely scarce.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: The reverse shows the same die characteristics as described for the 1846-O half eagle. There are no distinguishing characteristics visible on the obverse.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is a single variety known.
Variety One: The date is large and high with the tip of the 1 touching the truncation; the right tip of the 7 nearly touches the neck. The reverse is the same as on the 1846-O half eagle. On some pieces the mintmark is not well struck.
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