From the NGC Archives: 1885-S Coronet Half Eagle

Posted on 6/16/2009

This special five-dollar piece, designed in 1838, features the classical bust of Liberty. Seldom found in gem condition, it is a truly superb specimen. Read on for more details.

1885-S Coronet Half Eagle (Obverse)
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1885-S Coronet Half Eagle (Reverse)
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The classical bust of Liberty which graces this five-dollar piece was designed by Christian Gobrecht in 1838 and first applied to this denomination the following year. In 1866, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse, and it remained through the end of the series in 1908.

The San Francisco Mint produced a relatively large number of five-dollar pieces in 1885. While not a rare date overall, the 1885-S half eagle is seldom found in gem condition. There were evidently no collectors of this series by date and mint at that time, and gems have survived by mere chance. This specimen possesses an absolutely complete strike that affords it a wealth of fine detail. Its luster is superb, the fields being satiny at the centers and frostier toward the borders. The surfaces of this coin are pleasingly clean.

Are you interested in Half Eagles? Click here to visit the NGC Coin Encyclopedia and read more.