New research and facts from noted historian Roger W. Burdette highlights new treatise on one of the U.S. numismatics most enigmatic issues
Heritage Auctions has announced the publication of The 1815 Half Eagle: New Discoveries, a 50 page monograph by Heritage numismatists David Stone and Mark Van Winkle, published by Ivy Press.
“This compact reference contains a comprehensive study of the 1815 half eagle,” said Jim Halperin, Co-Founder of Heritage, who also edited the monograph, “one of the most famous and valuable rarities in the U.S. federal gold series. Although this issue has been diligently studied by numismatists for more than 150 years, many important facts relating to its history have only recently come to light.”
As detailed in this meticulously researched booklet, new findings in the National Archives by Roger W. Burdette have yielded important information about the first appearance of the 1815 along with some never-before-published correspondence between Mint officials establishing the pedigree of the Mint Cabinet specimen, which was only acquired in 1885. In addition, this volume includes the story of the long-reported specimen in the Royal Coin Cabinet of Sweden.
Renowned collector Joseph Mickley first discovered the 1815 in the Swedish collection in the early 1870s, but no American numismatist had actually seen the coin since that time despite repeated mentions in auction catalogs and periodicals over the ensuing 140 years.
The authors have traced the interesting history of this piece back to Swedish merchant Carl Scharp in 1844, and confirm its presence in the Royal Coin Cabinet by 1851, long before U.S. collectors were aware of its existence. A high-quality image of the coin in the Royal Mint Cabinet is published here for the first time in any numismatic publication.
The second half of the booklet consists of a detailed census of known specimens of the 1815 half eagle, with a separate section for each coin. This section includes valuable information on the history of each specimen along with images and physical descriptions. Regrettably, one coin that has been listed in most rosters of the 1815 half eagle compiled over the last 100 years has been proven to be an altered date 1813 half eagle instead.
“Students of this iconic early half eagle will find this reference indispensable,” said Halperin, “and anyone with even a casual interest in early U.S. gold coins will be fascinated by the exciting story of this important issue.”
The book is available for purchase at $20 by emailing CatalogOrders@HA.com.