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1849-C Half Eagle, AU-55 (NGC)

By Greg Cohen, Numismatist & Consignment Director, U.S. & World Coins

Author: Greg Cohen / Thursday, October 09, 2014 / Categories: iAuctions

One of the highlights of iAuction 3502 is lot 22305, a choice AU Charlotte Mint half eagle dated 1849. Most people are aware of the famous California Gold Rush of 1848/9 (indeed there is a professional football team named for it). Unknown to most people is the fact that the first gold rush in the United States was in the 1830s in Georgia and North Carolina. For several years, the Bechtler family and Templeton Reid assayed, refined, and minted gold deposited to their respective firms into gold coins to fill a void left by a lack of federally issued pieces. In 1838, the first federal branch mints were opened in Charlotte, North Carolina (gold coins only), Dahlonega, Georgia (gold coins only), and New Orleans, Louisiana (gold and silver coins). These branch mints operated until 1861, when the Confederacy took control of the facilities. After 1861, only the New Orleans Mint would reopen (in 1879).

Regarding the 1849-C half eagle offered here, it is one of 64,823 pieces struck, a generous mintage in relation to other years from this mint, making it one of the more available Charlotte issues. Often, this is a date that collectors choose to include in a mint set of Liberty Head $5 gold pieces since examples are readily available in most EF and AU grades. The populations drop off in Mint State, with 23 grading events at NGC from MS-60 to MS-66 (!). This AU example is well struck with attractive color. The surfaces show an appropriate number of bagmarks and circulation ticks for the assigned grade.

Our iAuction sales offer a nice mix of the rare and the more common, the affordable and the expensive, really something for everyone. Be sure to review the sale at www.stacksbowers.com and you may be able to fill a hole or two. Remember the sale closes every Sunday evening at 10pm Eastern Time. Good luck!