1833 Capped Head $5 Half Eagle, Large Date

The story of the 1833 Capped Head Large Date $5 half eagle closely parallels that of 1833 Small Date half eagle.

The cornerstone for the second United States Mint building was laid on July 4, 1829. Three and a half years later, on January 15, 1833, Mint Director Samuel Moore notified President Andrew Jackson the new facility was ready for occupancy.(1)

Architect William Strickland’s “ancient temple” design was a stark contrast from the Philadelphia skyline norm, with six massive Grecian columns spanning the entry portico. This impressive edifice was the epicenter of United States coin production until 1901.

One of the Mint’s first order of business after getting settled in was the striking of 1833 Capped Head half eagles. On March 30, the first order of half eagles was delivered to the Treasurer of the Mint. The final delivery occurred on December 31, bringing the total mintage of half eagles for 1833 to 193,630 pieces.

There are two major varieties of the 1833 Capped Head half eagle: the Large Date (sometimes called the BD-1 Wide Date) and the Small Date (a.k.a. the Close Date).(2)

Both varieties are extremely rare, with the number of Large Date survivors estimated at 37.(3) The Small Date survivors (including both BD-2 and BD-3 die varieties) are believed to number no more than 35.(4)(5) Thus, of the original mintage, 99.96% was lost.

The staggering losses are attributed to:(6)

  • Overseas melting, where bullion speculators earned profits by selling overweighted United States gold coins.
  • The public exchanging “old tenor” gold coins (most notably represented by Capped Head half eagles) for larger numbers of “new tenor” Classic Head half eagles, following adoption of the Coinage Act of 1834, which reduced the gold content of U.S. coins.

Fascinating Fact: When the second Mint building was razed in 1902, the Grecian columns were saved. In 2013, they were stood on the campus of Philadelphia's Einstein Medical Center.(7)

The few remaining Capped Head half eagles have reached heightened places of honor in the world of coin collecting. As a member of this exclusive club, it’s well understood why the 1833 keeps marching higher and higher in value.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 37
? 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: 8.7
? 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.
Click HERE to check for availability on eBay**

Preview of eBay selection (not likely to find this coin on eBay, but also try HERE link above before giving up):

1833 Capped Head half eagle images 1833 Capped Head half eagle rare key date
Trendline Avg = 21.01 BETTER
Last updated 9-6-23
Shop Now ebay button
Return to Key Date Coin List
Compare to Common Date Coin of Same Type
Download Charts to Your Computer


1. Stack's Bowers Galleries. 1833 Capped Head Half Eagle. Large Date. May 2016 Auction.

2. Stack's Bowers Galleries. 1833 Capped Head Half Eagle. Small Date. May 2016 Auction.

3. PCGS.  1833 $5 Large Date (Regular Strike).

4. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1833 Capped Head Half Eagle. BD-2. Close, Small Date.  Mar 2015 Auction.

5. Heritage Auctions.  1833 $5 Small Date, BD-3.  Dec 2019 Auction.

6. Stack's Bowers Galleries. 1833 Capped Head Half Eagle. Large Date. Aug 2022 Auction.

7. Stack's Bowers Galleries. 1833 Capped Head Half Eagle. Large Date. May 2016 Auction.

**Many very fine coin dealers sell on eBay. At any point in time, there may be over one million search results for United States coins. This includes quite a few of the recommendations on our Key Date Coin List.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a rare coin, eBay is certainly worth a look. For your convenience, the links from this site to eBay are coded to bring up only coins certified by PCGS and NGC.

As is always, always the case, never buy a valuable coin from a seller whose trustworthiness cannot be verified. Learn more about this at our chapter Best Places to Buy Coins, which also has a section on doing business on eBay.

In the interest of full disclosure, Rare Coins 101 receives a small commission anytime someone connects to eBay from this site and purchases something.

Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.