Each month, ASI’s Spotlight coin program provides in-depth information and analysis of a coin, or coin set, that we believe is of good value and will put you in a position to succeed in the future. The process of finding, selecting and obtaining coins for this program takes months of work and effort before a offer is released to you. However, we will only have a limited number of coins or sets, available. If something is truly a ‘deal,’ then it cannot be open-ended. While every coin is not for every person, we will only Spotlight coins that meet our specific criteria and are priced correctly. We want you to buy the “Right Coin at the Right Price” for your portfolio. The right coin for you serves your goals and needs.
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May Spotlight Coin
Low Premiums on the Backbone of America's Coinage
$5 Liberty Half Eagle
The $5 Half Eagle was a mainstay in American and global commerce for over a century. It was one of the very first gold coins ever released by the United States Mint in 1795 – and remained in production until 1929. Measuring just under a quarter of an ounce, it was comparable in size to the world’s most commonly traded coins, like the French 20 Francs or British Sovereign. As such, it became a useful unit of exchange both in the States and abroad. Here in the United States, it was one of the most likely coins to be spent by individuals. Larger pieces were perfect for bank reserves – and smaller coins were more likely to become souvenirs – but $5 Half Eagles were perfect for transactions like wages and rents.
$5 Liberty Half Eagle Design
From 1839 through 1908, the Half Eagle was struck using the Liberty design. This is the same basic motif that was used on the $2.50 Quarter Eagle and $10 Eagle of the same era. Remarkably, the coin’s design was largely untouched during this entire period. As such, it was one of the longest-running coinage series in American numismatics. The only noticeable modification was the addition of “IN GOD WE TRUST” to the reverse in 1866. The $5 Half Eagle was also the only Liberty gold coin produced in 1908. The $2.50, $10 and $20 Liberty series ended in 1907, but the $5 Liberty continued for another year until 1908, as the replacement $5 Indian design was not yet ready, and the Mint could not afford to let Half Eagle production lapse. Liberty Half Eagles were struck until the new Indian version was fully activated.
As mentioned earlier, the $5 Half Eagle was the backbone of the American currency system. Given its central role in everyday life, the coin was less likely than others to be stashed, saved and preserved. Sizeable quantities of $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, for example, often sat untouched in bank vaults. Consequently, they are generally available today in MS65. Smaller coins, like the $1 gold dollar, rarely circulated and were often saved. Most remained in excellent condition, and Gem MS65 specimens can be found without too much difficulty. $5 Half Eagles, by contrast, were mostly thrust directly into circulation. Upon leaving the Mint, they soon acquired marks, rub, wear and other blemishes. For this reason, “Gem” quality $5 Liberty Half Eagles are rare.
A review of the NGC Population Report reveals exactly how scarce these MS65 $5 “Libs” truly are. NGC has certified over 212,000 $5 Liberty Half Eagles in total, but just 3,361 pieces have been awarded the MS65 grade. In addition, significant quantities of $5 Libs are heavily worn, and do not warrant certification. Hundreds of thousands of coins fall into this category and therefore do not appear on the NGC census. Taking those into account, less than 1% of all $5 Liberties in existence qualify as MS65. The coin, simply put, is a true condition rarity. Despite being very common in circulated grades, the Liberty Half Eagle is hardly ever seen in Gem Uncirculated.
Despite its extreme scarcity, the numismatic market is currently – and unfairly – undervaluing the MS65 $5 Liberty. We base this statement on two major observations:
1. The MS65 $5 Liberty is selling for less than the MS65 $20 Liberty or $20 Saint even though it is much rarer. In fact, the $20 Liberty has a population of nearly triple the size – and MS65 Saints are dozens of times more available. Yet, amazingly, the $5 Liberty trades for a lower price!
|NGC MS65 Population||MS65 Value|
2. At its peak in 2008, MS65 $5 Liberty Half Eagles were selling for well over $5,000 each. According to NGC price records, the coin reached a value of $5,810 each in May 2008 – when spot gold was just $850-$950 per ounce! This coin is currently at an astounding 67% discount off its all-time high.
The best word we can use for this coin’s price: inexplicable. When we discovered this anomaly, we incorrectly assumed there must be a glut of supply holding prices down. It was the only logical explanation we could devise. However, that is hardly the case. We tried to secure coins at this heavily discounted level, but could only locate a few dozen pieces. Despite searching every corner of the market, our efforts yielded just 36 coins. The actual market supply confirms what the population reports indicate: this coin is an extremely rare item.
Today, we have available (36) $5 Liberty Half Eagles graded MS65 by PCGS or NGC. Our 36 coins are spread across a wide variety of dates, including some tougher mint-marked issues. The following prices and date mixes are available:
- 1-2 coins: $1,949 per coin*
- 3-4 coins: $1,929 per coin* - will include a guaranteed mix of at least three different dates
- 5-9 coins: $1,899 per coin* - will include a guaranteed mix of at least five different dates. We’ll make sure to include at least one coin struck in Philadelphia and at least one from San Francisco.
- We have exactly two 10-date sets available. These instant Gem Uncirculated Half Eagle collections are $1,849 per coin*. Rarely, if ever, will you see ten MS65 $5 “Libs” in one place—let alone 10 different dates! We will include at least one coin from each of the following three mints: Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver.
To add a $5 Liberty Half Eagle to your collection or investment portfolio, call us at 800-831-0007 or send us an email.
We see two extremely compelling reasons to own this coin. Based on rarity alone, these MS65 $5 Liberty Half Eagles represent outstanding value. They are much scarcer than MS65 $20 Liberty and Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, but somehow sell for less. That fact alone suggests these are a superb buy. Furthermore, the MS65 $5 Liberty is selling for a 67% discount to its 10-year high. Even when spot gold was well below $1,000 per ounce, this coin was routinely selling for $3,500-$5,500 each. It’s safe to say that these $5 Liberty Half Eagles can offer an extraordinary combination of rarity and value to your investment portfolio.
*Prices are subject to change based on product availability and market fluctuation. Free shipping, handling and insurance included. Prices reflected are for cash, check, or wire transfer only. Offer expires May 19, 2017.