Coin Specifications

Category: Classic Head $2.50 (1834-1839)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 17,781
Catalog: KM-56
Obverse Designer: William Kneass
Reverse Designer: William Kneass
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.8990
Weight: 4.1800g
AGW: 0.1208oz
Melt Value: $146.17 (2/26/2015)
Diameter: 18.2mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1839 O $2.5 MS obverse 1839 O $2.5 MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

On March 3, 1835, Congress passed 'An Act to Establish Branches of the Mint of the United States.' Section 1 of that Act authorized branches in New Orleans, Charlotte, and Dahlonega, and provided funds for property and facilities: 'Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That branches of the mint of the United States shall be established as follows: one branch at the city of New Orleans for the coinage of gold and silver, one branch at the town of Charlotte, in Mecklinburg county, in the state of North Carolina, for the coinage of gold only, and one branch at or near Dahlonega, in Lumpkin county, in the state of Georgia, also for the coinage of gold only. And for the purpose of purchasing sites, erecting suitable buildings, and completing the necessary combinations of machinery for the several branches aforesaid, the following sums, to be paid out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, shall be, and hereby are, appropriated: for the branch at New Orleans, the sum of two hundred thousand dollars, for the branch at Charlotte, fifty thousand dollars, for the branch at Dahlonega, fifty thousand dollars.'

The Act also specified that officers would be appointed, outlined salaries, provided for an oath of office, specified that general direction of the branches would be maintained in Philadelphia, and extended all coinage laws to each of the branches.

Three years passed before the three facilities were completed and ready for coinage. In New Orleans, the first coins issued were half dimes and dimes each dated 1838. The 1838-O half dollars would follow. Quarter dollars and quarter eagles followed in 1839, half eagles in 1840, eagles in 1841, silver dollars in 1846, gold dollars in 1849, double eagles in 1850, a single three cent piece in 1851, and a single three dollar piece in 1854.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/27/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1839 O $2.5 MS
Base $ 450 550 700 1150 2250 2250 4100 5200 6800 9250 12000 16500 24500 35500 50000 145000 - - - - -
$ 2750 4600 5750 7500 10000 - - - - - - - - -
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Total Graded: 317
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 65

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/25/2002 NGC AU 53   Heritage Auctions Exclusively Internet Auction #22082, 22082/Lot# 13415 $1,380.00
7/27/2005 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2005 July San Francisco, CA (ANA) Signature Auction #382, 382/Lot# 7329 $4,830.00
1/2/2006 NGC VF 35   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet-Only Auction #69, 74/Lot# 1021 $1,069.50
9/20/2009 PCGS F 15   Teletrade Auction 2747, 2747/Lot# 2551 $747.50
1/29/2012 NGC Details F Details  Goldberg January 29 - February 1, 2012 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 67/Lot# 1164 $391.00
5/19/2013 PCGS AU 58   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/19/2013, 75/Lot# 116624 $12,375.00
8/6/2014 PCGS AU 53   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 11057 $4,112.50
2/6/2015 NGC AU 55   Stack's Bowers 2015 Americana Auction, 6070/Lot# 2497 $5,434.38

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1839 O $2.5 MS
1839 O $2.5 MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 61
Points: 4431
Owner: Lafitte Coin Company
Grade: AU Details
Points: 1263
Owner: JTO
View the Registry Image Gallery

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