Earlier in the month, a Mint State (certified MS-66) 1799 Capped Bust Right $10 gold eagle was offered for auction at the Whitman Expo in Baltimore, evoking a resurgence in interest in the coin amongst numismatists. As its provenance remains largely unknown, part of the wow factor is a byproduct of its mysteriousness. While 1799 Capped Bust Right eagles are common in general, Mint State pieces such as this one are rare.
We didn’t become a premier retailer of coin collecting supplies by not possessing an extraordinary love for the coins they house themselves. So, in honor of the auction, we’re going to delve into information about some of the rarest U.S. gold coins, from earliest to latest. Feel free to fantasize about having one of these sitting in your collection while you read:
Capped Bust Right Small Eagle Half Eagle
This $5 coin is similar to, and was minted just before, the aforementioned Capped Bust Right gold eagle. Struck between 1795 and 1798, this was America’s first gold coin. It features Liberty facing right on its front side, and a spread-winged eagle perched atop a palm branch, holding an olive branch wreath in its beak. The front says LIBERTY and the back says UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Its 15 stars signify the 15 states in existence at the time of production. Its designer is unknown.
Capped Bust Left Half Eagle
Here’s another $5 Capped Bust Liberty coin, but now she faces left. Designed by John Reich, and minted between 1807 and 1812, the 25 mm coin’s backside features another eagle in high relief, which is noted by many as looking naturalistic. The bird holds an olive branch with three arrows in its talons, and wears a Union shield on its chest. With the phrase “5 D.” embossed on the reverse side, this was the first U.S. issued gold coin to state its value.
Liberty Half Eagle
This $5 coin, minted from 1839 to 1908, is the longest surviving, in terms of production time, to make our list. It’s also the only coin to ever be struck in all seven mints. While this coin features an image of Liberty on its front side again, this time she isn’t wearing a cloth cap, but rather, a crown. The eagle seen on the back side is strikingly similar to the one featured on the Capped Bust Left half eagle. These coins are relatively common, so it’s not unlikely that you could possess one in your coin storage!
While there are surely many more rare United States coins out there that we love, these are merely three of our favorites. Stay tuned for more to come about rare gold coins, and be sure to inspect our inventory of collecting supplies in the meantime. Until then, happy collecting!