Type: 2b, 3c

Recommended Grade: Head of 1838: AU50, Head of 1840: AU55

Mintage: 38,248 Proof: 4?(Head of 1838: 25,801 Head of 1840: 12,447

There are two major varieties of the 1839 Eagle. The first variety has the head of 1838, while the second variety has the head of 1840. The head of 1838 is also referred to as the "Large Letters" variety, while PCGS calls it "Covered Ear". Predictably, the head of 1840 is also known as "Small Letters" or "Uncovered Ear". Although the difference between the two types is obvious at a glance, the neck truncation and ear are the giveaways. Also, Liberty appears to be leaning forward on the "Head of 1838", while she shows better posture on the "Head of 1840"

Judging by auction appearances, the "Head of 1840" is even more rare than the "Head of 1838" than the above mintages or Coin World Trends would indicate. The demand for the "Head of 1838" is skewed due to type collectors chasing the elusive two-year "Large Letters" type.

The "Head of 1840" variety was first reported by B. Max Mehl in Mehl's Numismatic Monthly in December 1910. He mistakenly believed the variety to be a pattern.

A few proofs are known. These have the "Head of 1838".

A "Head of 1838" variety exists with a repunched date. Breen claims that this is an 1839/8 overdate. I have seen skepticism of this claim in auction catalogs, and it may not deserve a large premium.

A raw MS65 "Head of 1838" variety sold for $253,000 in a Feb. 1998 Superior auction. It was promoted as the finest-known coin of the type.

Auction results for 1839 Headof1838

Grade Result Date Result Date Result Date
45$1725N1/98 $2875P1/98 $2420A2/97

Auction results for 1839 Headof1840

Grade Result Date Result Date Result Date

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