14 December 2000
Rare 1846 Small Date Half Eagle
$5, 1846 Small Date. AU-50 (PCGS). This is the rare Small Date variety identified by a small die chip just above the right foot of digit 4. Sharply struck with light yellow gold and considerable remaining lustre.
Walter Breen described this as "prohibitively rare above VF". Three parts of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, sold by Bowers and Merena in 1999 and 2000 yielded four Large Dates grading MS-60 to 63 and seven Small Dates grading AU-50 to 58. Thus, the present S.S. Central America coin is in very good company. On an absolute basis-discarding extraordinary situations such as the Bass Collection and the S.S. Central America treasure-such pieces are very difficult to locate. Most major gold cabinets have lacked a specimen in any grade.
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Post Lot Text
This is the finer of two examples from the S.S. Central America treasure certified by PCGS.
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