The first year of issue for the Classic Head Half Eagle (Buy on eBay) is found in two different varieties, identified by the form of the last digit of the date. The difference is easily seen with the naked eye by observing the presence or absence of a vertical crosslet on the right end tip of the 4.
The first variety is known as the “Plain 4” and does not contain the vertical crosslet. The second variety is known as the “Crosslet 4” and does contain the added vertical mark at the end tip of the 4. Although an exact division from the overall mintage of 657,460 pieces is not known, the “Crosslet 4” variety is the rarer of the two by a factor of roughly 10 to 1.
With perhaps 100 examples surviving in all grades, of which 10% are in mint state, this is a difficult coin to acquire in any grade. Despite this rarity, the issue commands less attention from collectors compared to the two branch mint issues of the series.
An example of the 1834 “Crosslet 4” Classic Head Half Eagle graded PCGS MS62 realized a price of $25,000 at an auction held in January 2010.
- Designer: William Kneass
- Composition: 89.92% Gold, 10.08% Silver and Copper
- Weight: 8.36 grams
- Diameter: 22.5 mm
- Edge: Reeded