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$5.00 Gold, Capped Bust Left, 1807 – 1812

Johan Reich and $5 Gold 1807-12 Capped Bust Half Eagle Left

In 1807, Johan Matthias Reich, also known as John Reich, was appointed as Second Engraver at the United States Mint in Philadelphia. The Chief Engraver, Robert Scot, had designed all of the US coins currently in circulation, but he was now 62 and not in the best of health. With his eyesight failing, he reluctantly let Reich “modify his design.”

Instead, Reich created a totally new design, called the “Draped Bust” or “Capped Bust” style. Miss Liberty appeared a bit older and more mature (just like the country). She faced left, and wore a soft Phrygian cap with “LIBERTY” emblazoned across her prominent headband. She was surrounded by 13 six-pointed stars – seven to the left and six to the right. The current date was displayed below her.

The reverse depicted a smaller eagle, with upraised and outstretched wings. The legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” surmounted the eagle. A banner on which was inscribed “E PLURIBUS UNUM” was above the eagle but below the legend. The eagle held arrows and an olive branch in her talons as her predecessors had done. Below the eagle, the denomination was expressed as “5 D.”

(Johan Reich’s new design – the Draped (or Capped) Bust Half Eagle. Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

That first year of mintage, 1807, saw the Mint strike 51,605 coins. 1808 saw two varieties struck – 1808 8 Over 7, and the normal date – out of the 55,578 coins struck. In 1809, all 33,875 were struck as 1809  9 Over 8 overdate. Mintages for 1810 coins nearly doubled to 100,287 coins but four varieties of this date were struck. There was 1810, Small Date, Small 5 which is very rare; 1810 Small Date, Tall 5 which is common. Additionally, there was an 1810 Large Date, Small 5 which is the rarest coin of the series and an 1810 Large Date, Large 5 which is also common.

The year 1811 saw two varieties among the 99,581 coins struck, both varieties are common and the final year, 1812 saw 58,087 coins struck but no varieties. This coin was again modified in 1813.

DateTypeMintageFine ValueUnc Value
1807Capped Bust51,605$3,500$25,000
1808, BothCapped Bust55,578$3,500$20,000
1809 9 Over 8Capped Bust33,875$3,500$20,000
1810 Sm Date, Sm 5Capped Bust100,287$25,000$125,000
1810 Sm Date, Tall 5Capped BustIncluded$3,500$17,000
1810 Lg Date, Sm 5Capped BustIncluded$35,000$225,000
1810 Lg Date, Lg 5Capped BustIncluded$3,500$17,000
1811, BothCapped Bust99,581$3,500$15,000
1812Capped Bust58,087$3,500$15,000

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