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By James McCartney, Cataloger & Numismatist

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to present a Choice AU 1795 Small Eagle $5 in our Rarities Night session of the Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo. Uniform sunshine-yellow toning on each side is amplified by a semi-prooflike reflectivity shimmering across the fields. The design elements are well rendered and densely frosted, haloed by satiny Mint luster in most areas. 

By James McCartney, Numismatist & Cataloger

The United States $20 gold piece or double eagle spanned more than eight decades of production. James B. Longacre’s Liberty’s Head design inaugurated the denomination in 1850, providing a practical medium for converting large quantities of raw gold into coins to fuel the flourishing American economy and for use in international trade.  

By James McCartney, Numismatist & Assistant Production Manager. Based on the lot description by Jeff Ambio, Vice President of Numismatics & Auction Catalog Production.

Designed by Robert Scot, the mintage of 1795-dated eagles was somewhere in the order of 5,583 pieces. Among design types of gold coins, the 1795-1797 eagle is far and away the rarest, the undisputed key to the series. Later eagles with the Heraldic Eagle reverse far outdistance the present type in terms of availability, confirming the rarity and desirability of this exquisite Choice Mint State 1795 example.

By James McCartney, Numismatist & Assistant Production Manager

The final quarter of the 19th century was designated by author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, as the Gilded Age. A frenzy of rapid industrialization and increased wages created an environment of relative affluence and luxury that America had not yet experienced in its scant 100 years of existence. Marked by a proliferation of technology, railroads, labor unions and immigration, the expanding economy spurred a need for circulating currency to fuel the growth. 

By James McCartney, Numismatist & Cataloger, U.S. Coins

The half eagle is the largest coin ever produced at the Dahlonega Mint and is a favorite among collectors. With a mintage of 10,366 coins, the 1859-D is the second rarest $5 issue from that Georgia facility, overshadowed by the 1861-D at 1,597 pieces. Even so, the extant population of 1859-D examples is decidedly small, and Doug Winter suggests the survival of just 120 to 140 pieces. 

By James McCartney, Numismatist & Cataloger

The American Civil War had important numismatic implications that still affect collectors today. The fabled Confederate cents and half dollars of 1861 have long fascinated collectors, and the many variations of Civil War tokens and other related exonumia offer glimpses of independent coinage efforts that took place during the years of the conflict.  

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

Every once in a while, a previously unknown cache of coins that yields a new discovery surprises the numismatic market. Sometimes a new variety or date in a series is uncovered or the census of known examples and their grades is revised. The latter is the case for this 1873-S eagle, found in Europe in March, and now the finest certified example and quite possibly is the finest known.

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist & Cataloger, U.S. Coins

A frosty and lustrous MS-61 PCGS-certified 1913-S eagle should catch the eyes of many collectors in our upcoming iAuction # 3526. This low-mintage date was struck to the tune of just 66,000 pieces, one of the lowest production tallies within the series.