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1795 Small Eagle Draped Bust Gold Half Eagle NGC AU58

2023-09-13 22:50:00
1795 Small Eagle Draped Bust Gold Half Eagle NGC AU58

1795 Small Eagle Draped Bust Gold Half Eagle NGC AU58

Ash Samuel Hart's Live Auction Featured Coin

Thursday, September 14th, 2023


Join our auction live at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST

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Our Private Advisory Coin Team has early access to our weekly auction coins. Pre-bidding is now open for this week's stunning selections. Call our Private Advisory Coin team at (800) 778-0624 to join our auction bidding. Your Personal Advisor can accept your confidential bid for this coin.




  • Mintage: 8,707 (500 to 600 known)
  • NGC Population: 55/65
  • PCGS Population: 58/86
  • CU Price Guide: $100,000
  • Smithsonian Specimen: MS62
  • Finest Known: MS66 (1) – Last sold in 2015, for $587,500. A MS64+ has since sold for $552,000.
  • Half Eagles were the very first gold coins produced by the United States Mint on July 31, 1795, featuring a small eagle on the original reverse.
  • They were struck two years after the first American copper coins due to verbiage in the Coinage Act of 1792, which specified that the Chief Coiner, Henry Voight and Assayer, Albion Cox, must post bonds of $10,000 each before working with the precious metal.
  • At the urging of President George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Mint Director Rittenhouse, an appeal for this onerous requirement was brought to Congress and ultimately the burden was reduced to a manageable $5,000 for the Chief Coiner and $1,000 for the Assayer.
  • Designed by Robert Scot, the obverse features a bust of Liberty facing right with drapery around her neckline and a stylized Phrygian cap on her head. LIBERTY is inscribed above her head with 15 stars arrange on either side of her portrait and the date below.
  • Scot’s original reverse shows what many deemed a “scrawny eagle” perched on a palm branch, holding a wreath of an olive branch in its beak. The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA arc around the central eagle design.
  • In 1797, Scot replaced the Small Eagle reverse with the Heraldic Eagle design, an adaptation of the Great Seal. His new reverse featured a less regal bird than that on the Great Seal with the Union Shield on its breast.
  • Thirteen to sixteen stars, representing the original states and three new ones formed after independence, are enclosed by an arc of clouds that sits above the eagle with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounding the border.
  • There are Half Eagles dated 1795 with a Large Heraldic Eagle but these are later issues produced in 1798 using older obverse dies dated 1795, this was not an uncommon practice during the U.S. Mint's infancy.
  • All Draped Bust Half Eagles with the Small Eagle reverse are great rarities and it is the first year of issue that is the most attainable amongst them. Between all other Small Eagle $5s only another 200 or so pieces exist in total.
  • Nevertheless, only a few hundred exist today in any condition for the 1795 $5 Small Eagle and due to its title as the first official U.S. gold coin, this date’s grand importance supersedes its overall rarity, as it is coveted in all grades by countless collectors!
  • It’s been several years since a MS60 has sold but the last MS61 example to sell realized approximately $200,000 in 2022. Meanwhile the last NGC AU58 specimen to publicly trade was also in 2022, for just shy of $100,000