1810 Capped Draped Bust $5 Half Eagle, Small Date & Small 5

Touting the work of German-born Mint Engraver John Reich, the Capped Draped Bust $5 half eagle was first issued in 1807. The new gold coin depicted Liberty facing to the left, opposite of previous designs. Reich effectively portrayed the eagle on the reverse in a natural posture (overlooking the fact eagles do not generally carry breastplate shields!)(1)

Per Mint records, in 1810 there were 100,287 half eagles struck, a relatively high mintage in that era. However, this production was split up among four die varieties, differentiated by punches of various sizes used in the date and denomination.(2)

The Small Date, Small 5 variety is characterized by evidence of catastrophic obverse die cracks occurring early in the production run, forcibly removing it from service prematurely. The quantity struck was assuredly small, perhaps only 2,000-4,000 pieces.

The still usable reverse die, punched with the Small 5, was matched with the Large Date obverse die to produce the even rarer 1810 Large Date, Small 5 variety, an idolized coin in its own right.

Some may say the 1810 Small Date, Small 5 half eagle plays second fiddle to its Large Date, Small 5 sibling. Perhaps, but with an estimated survivorship of just 22 examples(3), it is justifiably a true legend in United States numismatics.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 22
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 9.0
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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Preview of eBay selection (this rarity is seldom up for sale -- be sure to also click the HERE link above):

Rare Key Date U.S. gold coin: 1810 Capped Draped Bust $5 half eagle, Small Date & Small 5
Trendline Avg = 14.01 GOOD
Last updated 9-6-23
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1. PCGS.  Type 1, Capped Bust, Large Bust.

2. Heritage Auctions.  1810 Small Date, Small 5 Half Eagle.  Jan 2012 Auction.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.