Composition and Specifications

The Classic Head Half Eagle was initially struck with a composition of 89.92% gold and 10.08% silver and copper. In 1837 this would be altered to 90% gold and 10% copper, with silver removed from the composition. Despite this slight change, the standard weight across all issues is generally given as 8.36 grams or 129 grains. All coins have a diameter of 22.5 mm and a reeded edge.

Coins of this type struck at the Philadelphia Mint do not carry a mint mark. Those struck in Charlotte and Dahlonega carry the “C” or “D” mint mark on the obverse, directly between the truncation of the neck and the date.

Striking quality varies, especially for the two Branch Mint issues, although fully struck pieces are extremely rare for all dates. Most will exhibit at least some weakness in the details of Liberty’s hair. Further problems are extensive and deep marks in the fields, a problem with all gold coins but especially with this type, and lack of overall eye appeal. Because of this, gems of this type are extraordinary rare.