[ Half Eagles ] [ COINS ] 67 PCGS 8421 1835 $5 1835 $5 PR67 PCGS. Ex Pittman. Breen-6506, Third Head, McCloskey 2-C, R.7. Congress passed the Mint Act of June 28, 1834 in order to reduce the weight of all gold coins. The results were predictable with some estimates as high as 99+% of the old tenor gold coinage melted and turned into the new Kneass designed Classic gold of lower weight. This, of course, explains why pre-1834 gold coins are so rare in spite of their often- substantial mintages. But what is less understood is the scarcity of high grade Classic gold. In short, these pieces were victims of their own success. They were so popular with the public that they are generally not located above the Fine-XF grade levels. Even problem- free AU coins are difficult to locate, and Mint State pieces are very challenging for the advanced collector. Proofs are extremely rare and only offered when a major collection is dispersed. This coin is a good case in point. Only seven collectors have owned this proof since 1890. The Classic half eagle series is just beginning to be studied by die variety. This is somewhat surprising as each working obverse die required no less than 17 design elements (13 stars and the date) to be added by hand, plus 80-odd blows from a twin-pellet punch to make the border. The reverse dies were even more complicated with 22 letters and the numeral 5, plus the border, and the eagle punch. It is no wonder Mint personnel welcomed the next design (in 1839) whose entirety could be hubbed except for the date and mintmark. The Classic series is ripe for numismatic study, and what research that has been done to date indicates that the McCloskey 2-C variety is one of the rarest of the 33 varieties known in the entire series. There are eight different varieties for 1835 and only a few business strikes are known of the 2-C variant. The most easily recognizable characteristic of this variety is that the lowest leaf in the top pair of leaves on the olive branch nearly touches the left side of the U in UNITED. Additionally, the eagle has no tongue, there is no berry on the branch small arrowheads, the letters in LIBERTY are recut, the B is much lower than the I, there is a large 1 and a block 8 in the date, and slender leaves on the olive branch. Only three proofs are known of the 1835 and each is struck from the 2-C die pairing. Of the three specimens known, at one time John Pittman owned two of them with the third permanently residing in the Smithsonian. The fields are deeply mirrored and close examination shows a few light die striations that imparted the proof finish. Several guide lines can be seen in the area of the date, and there is a tiny lint mark in the right obverse field out from stars 11 and 12 and another on the reverse above the eagle's beak. Fully and completely struck on both sides, every nuance of detail is present on this amazing coin. There are few other defects present, just a few very light hairlines, but these are so light that they are not visible without a magnifier. In addition to being fully struck, the devices are also noticeably frosted giving the coin a pleasing contrast against the illimitable depth of reflectivity in the fields. This is another extremely rare opportunity to acquire a coin that most numismatists have never seen.Ex: Lorin G. Parmelee (New York Coin & Stamp Co., 6/25/1890), lot 1045; William H. Woodin; Waldo Newcomer; World's Greatest Collection (Kosoff), lot 385; Memorable ( Kosoff, 3/1/48), lot 334; Pittman I (Akers, 10/97), lot 937, where it brought $308,000.From The Gold Rush Collection.