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Obverse of 1839 Eagle - Small Letters Reverse     Reverse of 1839 Eagle - Small Letters Reverse

Type of 1840

PCGS No: 8580


Circulation strikes: 25,801
Proofs: 0

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: ±26.8 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Other - 10% 

Weight: ±258 grains (±16.7 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia, PA) below the eagle on the reverse

Images courtesy of David Akers Numismatics, Inc.

The 1839 Eagle is found in two major varieties: Head of 1838 and Head of 1840.  The Head of 1838 is distinctly different from those of later years and should actually be listed as a separate sub-Type.  The most obvious differences can be seen in the shape of the bust and the arc of the truncation line.  On the “Head of 1838”, the tip of the bust is more rounded in appearance and the truncation line has a high arch.  On the “Head of 1840” (which first appeared in 1839), the tip of the bust is less rounded and the arc of the truncation line is flatter.

The 1839 “Head of 1840” Eagle is very rare in any grade and extremely rare in Mint State.  A small number of About Uncirculated examples are known.  PCGS has graded only 1 Mint State example, a single MS-62.  NGC has graded only 1 Mint State example, a single MS-64.

No Proof 1839 “Head of 1840” Eagles have been certified by PCGS or NGC.  Because they were made later in the year, it is doubtful if any Proof versions of the 1839 "Head of 1840" Eagle were made.

Significant examples:
PCGS MS-65 (Type of 1840).  Ex - Superior's "Wes Rasmussen" Sale, February 1998, Lot 3469, sold for $253,000.00 - offered by North American Certified Trading in the March 5, 2001 issue of COIN WORLD for $225,000.00

Uncirculated (illustrated above).  Ex - the John Jay Pittman collection.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"The NGC Census Report, April 2003" by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation