A world record was achieved last week when the only 1822 Capped Bust half eagle available for private ownership crossed the Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction block in Las Vegas. The 1822 Capped Bust half eagle offers just three known specimens, two of which are housed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and then the single specimen that was sold last week.
It was the first time this coin traded hands since 1982. That’s when it was purchased by the late, great collector D. Brent Pogue, whose name was the most recent in the line of provenance for this coin. Its pedigree includes long stints in the cabinets of Louis Eliasberg and Virgil Brand, and the coin has been in just three collections over 115 years. The name of the person who bought this coin remains a mystery for the time being.
Whoever bought it has plenty of money to spend on their coin collection. The 1822 Capped Bust half eagle, graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as AU50, took a whopping $8.4 million. That massive sum makes the 1822 half eagle the most valuable gold coin ever struck by the United States Mint. It also speaks to the health of the rare coin market remaining robust despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic pangs in recent months, all encouraging signs that the numismatic world remains vibrant.
*Images are courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.