1859-D $5 Large D (Regular Strike)

Series: Liberty Head $5 1839-1908



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Christian Gobrecht
21.65 millimeters
8.36 grams
90% Gold, 10% Copper
Major Varieties

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
Relative Rarity
By Type
Relative Rarity
By Series
All Grades 10 R-9.5 3 / 112 4 / 218
60 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 112 1 / 218
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 112 1 / 218
Survival Estimate
All Grades 10
60 or Better
65 or Better
Numismatic Rarity
All Grades R-9.5
60 or Better R-10.1
65 or Better R-10.1
Relative Rarity By Type All Specs in this Type
All Grades 3 / 112
60 or Better 1 / 112
65 or Better 1 / 112
Relative Rarity By Series All Specs in this Series
All Grades 4 / 218
60 or Better 1 / 218
65 or Better 1 / 218

Condition Census What Is This?

Pos Grade Image Pedigree and History
1 AU58 PCGS grade
2 AU55 PCGS grade AU55 PCGS grade
3 XF40 PCGS grade
#1 AU58 PCGS grade
AU55 PCGS grade #2 AU55 PCGS grade
#3 XF40 PCGS grade
Doug Winter: The 1859-D has the second lowest mintage figure in the entire twenty four year history of the Dahlonega half eagle series. It is nearly identical in overall rarity to the 1858-D but it is rarer in high grades.

The 1859-D half eagle is usually found in Extremely Fine grades. It becomes rare in About Uncirculated-50 and it is very rare in the higher About Uncirculated grades. In full Mint State, the 1859-D half eagle is extremely rare.

STRIKE: The 1859-D half eagle invariably shows weakness at the centers. On the obverse, the curls at the face and below the ear of Liberty are weak, as is the back of the neck which can be so flat that this is confused for wear. The first three or four stars may show weakness but they become stronger towards the final few. The reverse is better struck but it is often somewhat weak on the shield, the eagle’s legs and the top of the claws. The milling on both sides is sharp. Every known example has rounded rims with a beveled appearance.

SURFACES: Many 1859-D half eagles show mint-made roughness in the fields. The surfaces often show numerous marks and many have been ruined by overzealous cleanings.

LUSTER: This date does not usually have good luster. When luster is present, it is mostly satiny with a grainy texture.

COLORATION: The coloration on original, uncleaned examples is medium to deep green-gold. Pieces are also known with lighter orange-gold shading. Most have been cleaned or dipped at one time.

EYE APPEAL: This is a difficult issue to locate with good eye appeal on account of weakness of strike, mint-made planchet problems and heavy abrasions. The few really choice 1859-D half eagles in existence are off the market and years can go by without a genuinely appealing piece being offered for sale.

DIE VARIETIES: Three die varieties are known to exist.

Variety 36-CC: Medium Mintmark. On the obverse, the date is small and it is located low in the field. The reverse is the same as described for Variety 34-CC and Variety 35-CC.

This is by far the more common of the two varieties.

Variety 36-DD: Medium Mintmark. The obverse is the same as on the previous variety. The mintmark is positioned well to the right and is directly above the E in IVE. The discovery coin appears to be Bass II: 1114. I have not seen another example of this variety.

This variety is very rare.

Variety 37-EE: Large Mintmark. The date is small and located slightly higher than on the other obverse of this year. The bottom of the 5 is positioned below the 8 while the bottom of the 9 is positioned below the 5. The mintmark is positioned high and is positioned mostly over the E. The discovery coin appears to be Bass II: 1117.

This variety is very rare.
Gordon Wrubel: Quickfinder Notes: The Large D mint mark appears TALLER than it is WIDE. It is tilted upward so the its left top is very close to the arrow feather. The Large D is rare. Only a few examples have been graded none of which reach Mint State status (as of October 2012). Doug Winter points out that the Harry Bass II:1117 coin "appears" to be the discovery specimen.