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SERIES: Capped Bust Half Dollars 1807-1839
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1839 50C RE, Capped, Sm Letters (Regular Strike)

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PCGS XF45+

OLD VS NEW REVERSE

PCGS VF35
PCGS #:
6180
Diameter:
30.00 millimeters
Designer:
Christian Gobrecht
Weight:
13.36 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
1,392,976
Metal Content:
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$63,250 • PCGS EF45 • 7-1-2008 • Heritage
Go To Grade
  • 4
  • 6
  • 8
  • 10
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  • 15
  • 20
  • 25
  • 30
  • 35
  • 40
  • 45
  • 45+
  • 50
  • 63
  • 64
4
15,000
1
6
17,500
8
20,000
10
22,500
12
28,500
15
32,500
20
40,000
1
25
45,000
30
50,000
35
55,000
1
40
65,000
45+
75,000
1
63
150,000
1
Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Estimate 
Numismatic
Rarity 
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 50 R-8.5 1 / 4 4 / 78
60 or Better 4 R-9.8 1 / 4 1 / 78
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 4 1 / 78
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS64 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade  
3 XF45+ PCGS grade

Discovered by Maurice Rosen in 1972 - First Coinvestors, Inc. - Pine Tree Rare Coin Auctions 9/1973:279 - Julian Leidman, sold privately in 7/2008 - Charlton “Swampy” Meyer Collection - Heritage 7/2008:1689, $63,250 - Joseph C. Thomas Collection - Heritage 4/2009:2457, $57,500 - Larry Hanks. - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack's/Bowers & Sotheby's 5/2016:4008, $76,375

4 XF45 PCGS grade  
5 XF40 estimated grade  

Stack's 1/2010:3231, $50,025

Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS64 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade  
3 XF45+ PCGS grade

Discovered by Maurice Rosen in 1972 - First Coinvestors, Inc. - Pine Tree Rare Coin Auctions 9/1973:279 - Julian Leidman, sold privately in 7/2008 - Charlton “Swampy” Meyer Collection - Heritage 7/2008:1689, $63,250 - Joseph C. Thomas Collection - Heritage 4/2009:2457, $57,500 - Larry Hanks. - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack's/Bowers & Sotheby's 5/2016:4008, $76,375

4 XF45 PCGS grade  
5 XF40 estimated grade  

Stack's 1/2010:3231, $50,025

6 VF35 PCGS grade
7 VF20 PCGS grade
8 G4 PCGS grade
Gordon Wrubel: In 1838 The lower reverse legend on Reeded Edge Capped Bust half dollars was changed from "50 Cents" to "Half Dol." It is believed this change was made to conform to the designations on other denominations being produced at the time. This "Type II" reverse would appear on all coinage through the end of Liberty Seated series in 1891.
1839 marked the last appearance of the Bust obverse which was replaced later in the year by the Liberty Seated die. One of the Capped Bust 1839 varieties has a unique, pattern(?) reverse die known as "Small" Letters. This extremely rare variety was first recognized by New York numismatist, Maurice Rosen, in 1972. With its unique reverse, this coin designated GR-1,(Graham-Reiver) is highly coveted by die variety and Red Book collectors alike. To die variety collectors, GR-1 is the "Holy Grail" of the Reeded Edge half dollar series, rivaling the the "proof" 1838-O in rarity. The 2012 Graham-Reiver book traces only 10 specimens, with one in Mint State. This piece was graded MS-63 by PCGS in 1997.

Quickfinder Notes: The obverse die of GR-1 was used on the first four varieties of 1839. The reverse show some distinctive differences. The size of the eagle is smaller than on any to follow. The eagles talons are more closed. The "Small" letters are tall, thinner and spaced AWAY from the rim due to having more room because of the SMALLER size eagle. The "Large" letters are from different style punches; squat, thick and very CLOSE to the rim because of the lack of space due to the LARGER eagle. Be that as it may, there is a telltale feature of the die that is DIAGNOSTIC. One only has to look at the BOTTOM ARROW FEATHER that shows below the STEM of the olive branch. On the 'Small" Letters only the VERY TIP shows below the stem. On all other 1839 Capped coins, the reverses show about ONE THIRD of the bottom feather below the stem as well as a significant portion of the ARROW SHAFT.