1839 Capped Bust Half Dollar, Small Letters Reverse

The 1839 Capped Bust Half Dollar with small letters on the reverse (Buy on eBay) is an extremely rare transitional variety, which was discovered in 1972. Only ten examples are believed to exist, with only one example known in mint state.

The variety is identified by the lettering on the reverse, which is taller, thinner, and further away from the rim compared to the standard lettering. An additional diagnostic is the appearance of the arrow feathers beneath the eagle. On the small letters variety, only the tip of the arrow feather is visible below the olive branch stem. On the standard reverse, about a third of the arrow feathers appear below the stem.

An example of this rare variety graded PCGS XF45+ sold at auction in 2016 for $76,375.

Coin Specifications

  • Designer: Christian Gobrecht
  • Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Weight: 13.36 grams
  • Diameter: 30 mm
  • Edge: Reeded