This is a challenging piece for the specialist, as a combined total of 27,578 Small Letters and Large Letters were struck in 1842. In their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth note, 'The Small Letters 1842 half eagle is a very scarce coin, more so than any of the Philadelphia half eagles from 1839 to 1841. This date and variety combination is usually seen well worn. Most of the great collections that sold at auction in the last few decades lacked an example in high grade.' They further state that only one Mint State specimen sold at auction between 1991 and 2006. NGC has graded two pieces in AU50, with 14 finer (6/07). This AU50 piece shows only mild evidence of friction over the highpoints. Sharp definition is noted over all of the design elements. The green-gold surfaces are peppered with a number of small abrasions on both obverse and reverse.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.