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)
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.
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