The 1838 eagle is where it all began for the basic design type that would continue until Augustus Saint-Gaudens was called upon to redesign the coinage in 1907. While minor modifications were made along the way, this was the first use of Christian Gobrecht’s new design that was used on quarter eagles, half eagles, eagles and double eagles into the 20th century. Just 7,200 were reported struck this year in Philadelphia, a relatively small beginning considering that the following year more than 38,000 eagles were struck. To put this in better perspective, in 1847, the mintage for the denomination at Philadelphia exceeded 800,000 coins. Typical examples tend to be Extremely Fine, and many have been mishandled or cleaned over the years, showing subdued luster. This is a delightful exception, with superb luster resulting in unusual eye appeal. It is an underappreciated American classic.
View this coin along with the other items offered in this week’s iAuction at StacksBowers.com.