In 1839, the Coronet $5 half eagle made its debut. It is also frequently called the Liberty Head type. Christian Gobrecht’s design depicts Miss Liberty facing left with her hair tied in a bun. She wears a coronet (a small crown) inscribed with LIBERTY.
The Civil War had a profound impact on coin production and availability. Little bullion was obtainable for coinage after Eastern banks suspended gold specie payments in late 1861.(1) What’s more, gold and silver issues were hoarded by a fearful public and vanished from circulation.(2)
In the midst of this turmoil and uncertainty, all Philadelphia Mint half eagles of 1862-1865 were of extremely low mintage. For the year 1864, a paltry 4,170 business strikes were produced, guaranteeing it to be forever a rarity. Heavy melting was another factor limiting its numbers. The survival rate is estimated to be around 1.6%(3)
The 1864 Coronet half eagle was “asleep” for many years. Foresighted collectors who purchased an 1864 example while it snoozed are undoubtedly pleased today, as it has since arisen robustly from its slumber. Solid numismatic fundamentals underlying the 1864 half eagle indicate recent price explosions are justified.
|Estimated survivors in all grades: 65
? 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: 8.3
? 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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