What are the classic half eagles?

The classic series half eagles are United States $5 gold coins minted between the years 1834 and 1838. The series arose as a consequence of the Coinage Act of 1834, which lowered the gold content of the nation's coinage to align with the issued value. The series was designed by William Kneass. The obverse renders the head of Liberty facing left, hair held in place by a band inscribed LIBERTY, with 13 stars circling her head and with the date below. The reverse shows an eagle with a shield on its breast, perched on an olive branch and holding three arrows.

Die varieties of classic half eagles

Many of the devices (numerals, stars, legends, etc.) were hand punched into the dies, and variation in the position of these devices generates a multitude of die varieties. Click Table of Varieties at the top of the screen to explore the fascinating die varieties of the classic half eagles.

How to attribute the die varieties

Click Variety Attribution Guide at the top of the screen to access the interactive attribution guide.

How to collect classic half eagles

You can collect the classic half eagles by date or die variety. A date set consists of five coins, or seven if you include the Charlotte and Dahlogena minted coins of 1838. Often, the cross-4 variety of 1834 is added to the basic date set. A more challenging objective is to collect an example of each die variety of the series. There are 31 die varieties from the Philadelphia mint, two from the Charlotte mint, and a sole example from the Dahlogena mint.