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Rockville, MD 20852


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Asset Strategies International is an industry leading full service tangible asset dealer specializing in precious metals, foreign currency and rare tangible assets.

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Fax: 301-881-1936

9 AM - 5 PM EST



Asset Strategies International

1700 Rockville Pike, Suite 400

Rockville, MD 20852

brian zweigA Limited Quantity of Extremely Scarce Classic Head Eagles

By Brian Zweig

In the early 19th century, America’s production of gold coinage was extremely sporadic. Our country’s first 50-75 years of existence were marked by numerous recessions, financial panics, and military skirmishes. As once can imagine, given the uncertain financial climate, production of gold coins during this era was minimal.

From 1776 to 1840, historians at the National Bureau of Economic Research have identified thirteen distinct periods of economic duress. Only three gold denominations were issued during this era: the $2.50 Quarter Eagle, the $5 Half Eagle and the $10 Eagle.

The Quarter Eagle circulated infrequently, as it represented a tremendous amount of money for everyday spending. The largest coin a typical citizen would spend was the silver Half Dollar. Half Eagles saw a little more production, as they were often used as bank reserves. However, the coins almost exclusively traded bank-to-bank; rarely would one see a Half Eagle in daily commerce. The Eagle was deemed way too big for anyone’s needs and was not produced from 1805 through 1837.

By the mid-1830's, however, conditions improved somewhat. While the Industrial Revolution began in Europe, it eventually reached and benefited the United States. In addition, gold was discovered in rural sections of North Carolina and Georgia. There was a small uptick in demand for gold coins—and an influx of yellow metal to make them.

The result was the short-lived Classic Head Gold series of 1834-1839.


1836 Classic Head Gold Half Eagle

Classic Head Gold Series
For this new gold series, the United States Mint called upon Chief Engraver William Kneass to create a design. His obverse motif was not completely original; it was essentially a copy of the design already being used on American large cents. It featured a female portrait of Liberty with long curly hair with stars at the periphery. The reverse was not entirely new either. It displayed an outstretched eagle with the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and the denomination. The same basic motif had been used on the back of American gold coinage for many years.

The Classic Head obverse design may not have been totally original, but its method of production represented an important first for the U.S. Mint. Previously, U.S. gold coins were struck using crude manual presses that were powered by man or even animal labor. The Classic Head coins, meanwhile, were struck with new steam presses. This may be the second example of how the Industrial Revolution influenced Classic Head gold coinage. The economic boon created the demand for gold coins—and a new method to make them too!

1836 Classic Head Quarter EagleUltimately the Classic Head gold series would be soon replaced by the Liberty Head design by the end of the decade. It’s unclear why the Classic Head design was abandoned so quickly; by all indications it was easy to strike and there were few technical issues. One can only assume that newly hired engraver James Longacre wanted to leave his mark on America’s coinage. Thus, the Classic Head Quarter Eagle only lasted until 1839 while the Half Eagle was discontinued after 1838.

Simply put, all Classic Head gold coins are extremely scarce. Their rarity can be attributed to low mintages and paltry survival rates. Not only were relatively few made in the first place, but countless pieces were destroyed in the 19th and 20th centuries. When precious metals prices skyrocketed during the Civil War, vast quantities of U.S. gold coins were melted for their bullion content. Then, when private ownership of gold was banned in 1933, the federal government destroyed a massive number of Quarter Eagles and Half Eagles.

Despite their tremendous rarity, Classic Head gold coins remain an outstanding value—especially relative to other gold coins of the same era. A Capped Bust Quarter Eagle, struck between 1829 and 1833, would sell for a minimum of $10,000 in XF and in excess of $15,000 in AU. Half Eagles of the same design and era can easily sell for $30,000-$60,000 in XF and AU grades. Granted Capped Bust gold is tougher than Classic Head gold, but the latter is a bargain by comparison. Amazingly, problem-free Classic Head gold coins can be had in XF and AU condition for $800-$1,100 per coin!

1836 Classic Head Gold Half EagleExactly How Rare Are Classic Head Gold Coins?
The NGC population reports demonstrate the stark difference between Classic Head and Liberty gold survival rates. Whereas NGC has graded over 80,000 Liberty Quarter Eagles, it has certified just 4,433 Classic Head pieces. The contrast is even more glaring for Half Eagles. NGC has graded over 219,000 Liberty Half Eagles compared to just 5,811 Classic Head Half Eagles. The difference in rarity is night and day.

For several months, we’ve been quietly accumulating Classic Head gold coins. Every time a fairly-priced problem-free specimen was made available, we took advantage of the opportunity. Since these are in such thin supply, we wanted to gather these is a subtle and inconspicuous manner. Our goal was to put together a large quantity of two coin sets (a Classic Head Quarter Eagle and Half Eagle in the same grade) but the coins were simply too hard to find.

Today's Offer
After a tremendous amount of effort and searching, we could only find 17 two-coin sets of Classic Head Gold coins dated from 1834-1839. These two-coin sets contain a $2.50 Classic Head Quarter Eagle and a $5 Classic Head Half Eagle, each graded a minimum of XF40 by PCGS or NGC.

  • Nine (9) sets in Extremely Fine (XF): Graded a minimum of XF40 by PCGS or NGC. These sets are available at $1,869 with free shipping.*
  • Eight (8) sets in About Uncirculated (AU): Graded a minimum of AU50 by PCGS or NGC. Your cost is $2,479 per set with free shipping.*

Classic Head Gold Sets

You would be hard-pressed to find a more historic or advantageously priced United States gold coin. These represent the best opportunity to buy multiple early American gold coins in respectable grade without spending tens of thousands of dollars. With individual Capped Bust Quarter Eagles and Half Eagles realizing five figures at auction, two-coin Classic Head gold sets under $2,500 represent a fantastic value.

We can say unequivocally that this is one of the most special offerings we’ve been able to make available – and one that will be met with an intense response. To add an incredibly scarce coin set to your portfolio today before they're gone, please call us at 800-831-0007 or email us.

*Prices subject to change based on market fluctuation and product availability. Prices reflected are for cash, check, or bank wire. Free shipping, handling, and insurance are available at any quantity. Offer expires Friday August 9, 2019, or while supplies last.

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