Mintage: 7,200 Proof: 4?

Images (Courtesy of Teletrade)


Type: 1a

Recommended Grade: XF40

The designs of the Liberty Eagle are credited to U.S. Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht. He based the obverse head of Liberty on a then-recent Benjamin West painting, Omnia Vincit Amor. The reverse has an eagle very similar to that used on the $5 gold half eagle since 1807, which was originally designed by John Reich.

The 1838 Eagle may have been minted as a direct result of James Smithson's will. Smithson was an English citizen who never set foot in America. A large part of his estate, in the form of British sovereigns, was left to the United States. Many of these gold coins were melted and minted into 1838 Eagles. A few sovereigns still remain in the Smithsonian Institute, which is named after Smithson.

The 1838 Liberty Eagle is a rare date, with a low mintage and high demand, as the first year of a two year type. A few proofs are known. A choice proof in the Pittman Sale in May 1998 was auctioned for $550,000. This was the highest price of any individual coin in his entire collection.

Auction results for 1838

Grade Result Date Result Date Result Date
30$1107A2/98 $1485A6/96
40$2531P5/98 $1760A5/97
45$4025P1/98 $3080P2/97

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