Cert #8770 4012923
Coin Number 34
Next we have the elegant 1838 Eagle that is PCGS graded Proof-65. This is one of just three in existence in Proof, one of which is retained in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian. The other two coins held in private hands are both graded Proof-65. Gold eagle production had come to a halt after 1804 with the only notable exception being the “1804” gold eagle restrike of 1834 referenced in this collection. Remarkable preservation is evident here, with undisturbed frost on Liberty’s face and neck, as well as over the entire eagle. Solid proof contrast is present, and a glance will confirm the memorable quality here. When Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht designed the new eagle in 1838, these Proofs were the first coins issued. Gobrecht’s design included a long swept back curl of hair on Liberty which covers most of her ear, also her truncation shoulder line shows an elegant curvature which ends in a sharp point on her back. By mid 1839, the swept back hair and strong curvature of her truncation are smoothed out, and while less artistic were probably better suited to the production needed by the Mint for circulating coins. Thus, from an artistic standpoint only the eagles of 1838 and early 1839 offer this handsome design before the demands of production came to fore. By today’s standards, this coin is likely under graded although its extraordinary rarity likely precludes anyone from caring too much as it simply is what it is, a fantastic gem Proof of this most elegant design.