Half Eagle -> 1851-C


  • Half Eagle 1838 - 1861
  • Liberty Head 1839 - 1861
  • Diameter: 22.5 millimeters
  • Fineness: .900
  • Weight: 129 grains
  • Designer: Christian Gobrecht
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Coiner: John R. Bolton

The 1851-C is the scarcest issue in the five year date run (1849-1853) in which production figures for Charlotte half eagles were at an all-time high. This is one of the most poorly struck issues from this era as well. The obverse generally has a blunt appearance. The reverse is somewhat sharper but it is not fully defined on such areas as the legs of the eagle and the neck feathers. The surfaces on nearly every known example are very heavily marked and this impairs the luster and the overall level of eye appeal. The natural coloration is a distinctive deep green-gold but most examples have been cleaned at one time. A small mint-made punchmark in the ear of Liberty can be seen on the majority of 1851-C half eagles. A total of 125-135 exist. Fewer than twenty grade About Uncirculated while five or six Mint State coins are currently known. The second finest of these is illustrated below.

Condition Census

  1. Private collection, ex Elrod collection. Graded MS-63 by NGC.
  2. Paul Dingler collection, ex Doug Winter (8/96), Heritage Rare Coin Galleries, Stack's 5/95: 482, Ed Milas collection, Kidder Peabody Rare Coin Fund, Hugh Sconyers collection, Winthrop Carner. Graded MS-62 by PCGS. The coin illustrated on this web site.
  3. Private collection, ex Tangible Investments of America (Silvano di Genova) inventory, Summer 1995. Graded MS-62 by NGC.
  4. Private collection, ex Ed Milas, North Carolina collector, Doug Winter, Mid American Rare Coin Auctions 5/89: 1519. Later graded MS-62 by NGC.
  5. New York Gold Mart (Ron Karp) inventory, Summer 1997, graded MS-61 by PCGS.

Another verifiable Uncirculated 1851-C half eagle is in a North Carolina collection, ex Doug Winter, 9/96 and it was earlier in the Paul Dingler collection. It was graded MS-60 by NGC.