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SERIES: Liberty Head $10 1838-1907
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1839/8 $10 Type of 1838 (Regular Strike)

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PCGS MS66

Closeup of 1839/8 $10 Overdate

1839 $10 Type Comparison
PCGS #:
8576
Diameter:
26.80 millimeters
Designer:
Christian Gobrecht
Weight:
16.70 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
25,801
Metal Content:
90% Gold, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$402,500 • PCGS MS66 • 1-12-2005 • Heritage
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  • 4
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4
975
6
1,000
1
8
1,100
10
1,200
12
1,300
1
15
1,400
2
20
1,600
3
30
2,000
5
45+
6,350
50+
7,750
53+
10,000
58+
23,000
62+
55,000
63
100,000
2
63+
117,500
64
195,000
1
65
500,000
1
66
1,250,000
1
Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Estimate 
Numismatic
Rarity 
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 225 R-6.7 2 / 2 78 / 183 TIE
60 or Better 12 R-9.5 2 / 2 65 / 183 TIE
65 or Better 3 R-9.8 1 / 2 24 / 183 TIE
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66 PCGS grade

Gold Rush Collection - Heritage 1/2005, $402,500 - David Hall Rare Coins - private collector

2 MS65 PCGS grade

Superior 2/1998:3469, $253,000 - The Type Set Collection

3 MS64 PCGS grade  

Ed Milas - Heritage 10/1995:6233, $77,000

4 MS64 estimated grade  

National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

5 MS63 PCGS grade
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66 PCGS grade

Gold Rush Collection - Heritage 1/2005, $402,500 - David Hall Rare Coins - private collector

2 MS65 PCGS grade

Superior 2/1998:3469, $253,000 - The Type Set Collection

3 MS64 PCGS grade  

Ed Milas - Heritage 10/1995:6233, $77,000

4 MS64 estimated grade  

National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

5 MS63 PCGS grade
5 MS63 PCGS grade  
5 MS63 estimated grade  
8 MS62 PCGS grade

High Desert Collection (PCGS Set Registry)

8 MS62 PCGS grade  
8 MS62 PCGS grade  
David Akers (1975/88): Historically, this issue has been called "1839 Large Letters" and the following issue, "1839 Small Letters". This nomenclature is totally inadequate to describe the difference between the two issues and implies that they are merely two varieties of the same type. Actually, they are different types with the head of Liberty dramatically different on each issue. (Ironically, the sizes of the letters on the reverse are so close that one would be hard pressed to distinguish between the two on a side-by-side comparison!) For these reasons, I have opted to call this first 1839 issue the "Type of '38" and the second 1839 issue, the "Type of '40". Hopefully, these appellations will prevail in the future.

The 1839 Type of '38 is rare in all grades although less so than the 1838. However, the difference in rarity between the two is not nearly as great as the large mintage difference might imply. Most known specimens are in the VF-EF range and strictly graded AUs are very rare. A few uncirculated examples are known but they must be considered extremely rare.


David Hall: Interestingly, David Akers stepped out in 1980 and challenged tradition by declaring that the first $10 Liberty issues, 1838 and 1839 Type of '38, were actually two different types. Not only did the numismatic community adopt his position, we used his names for the two 1839 issues. Just shows what a visionary David was and how important his books on gold coins were (are).

There are a few uncirculated examples, including two Gems. The finest is the incredible MS66 Van Simmons and I bought at auction a few years ago. After the auction, Numismatic News asked me for quote as to why we purchased such an expensive coin and I said, "I'm just trying to hedge against the inevitable decline in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar." Unfortunately, they didn't use my tongue-in-cheek quote. The real reason we bought the coin was we had a client building a complete type set of U.S. coins and the coin still resides in that incredible collection today.