Duke's Creek Collection of Dahlonega Half Eagles
The Duke's Creek Collection was carefully assembled over many years by the late Jack Hancock and Bob Harwell with the choicest pieces from three significant collections of Dahlonega gold. It comprises a complete set of Dahlonega Mint issues, and virtually every coin is the finest known or nearly so.
Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries,in association with Hancock & Harwell, first handled the Duke's Creek Collection in 2004. The entire collection was certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), and the one dollar through three dollar pieces were subsequently sold individually at auction. The half eagles remained intact,however, and were purchased by a serious collector.
This collector has now selected Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries to handle the sale of the 27 half eagles from the Duke's Creek Collection.
1 — 1838-D Half Eagle NGC MS 63 *
Ex: Coles Collection(Stacks, 10/1983); Arthur Montgomery Collection (Auction '84, Stack's, 7/1984);Farmer Collection; Hancock & Harwell
This issue is notable as both the first half eagle struck at the Dahlonega Mint and the only date bearing the Classic Head design. Some 20,583 pieces were coined from a single pair of dies. Most survivors, while well struck for a D-Mint coin, are quite worn or heavily bag marked. This wonderful specimen is boldly struck with rich, frosty luster that is accompanied by flashes of proof like surface within and around Liberty's portrait.
2 — 1839-D Half Eagle NGC MS 61
Ex: James Stack Collection(Stack's, 10/1994); Clary Collection; Hancock & Harwel
This date was the second of only two in which the mint mark appeared on the obverse of the half eagle. A total of 18,939 pieces were coined at Dahlonega for 1839, and NGC has certified only four as Mint State (7-12). This charming coin is from the more common of two die pairings, with its mint mark is centered over numerals 39. It features an attractive veil of pale peach toning on either side.
3 — 1840-D Tall-D Half Eagle NGC MS 62
Ex: B. Max Mehl (1923);John Clapp Collection (1942); Eliasberg Collection (Bowers & Ruddy,10/1982); Farmer Collection; Hancock & Harwell
This specimen is quite boldly struck for a Dahlonega Mint coin, and it displays just a suggestion of old toning on its clean surfaces. Perhaps the only distraction is a planchet void between the first star and the date, but this is just one of the peculiarities that give southern gold coins their charm.
4 — 1841-D Small-D Half Eagle NGC MS 65 +
Ex: James Stack Collection(Stack's, 10/1994); Ed Milas Collection (Stack's, 5/1995); Hancock &Harwell
Dahlonega coined a total of 29,392 half eagles for 1841, using a single obverse die in combination with either of two reverse dies. This specimen features a Small D reverse, this style transitional with 1842. Typical of 1841 D half eagles, it is well struck overall, with just a touch of weakness at LIBERTY,the eagle's left leg and adjacent arrow feathers. The delightful gem features very bright luster of fine grain and a hint of satiny sheen on portions of its obverse. Its surfaces are wonderfully pristine, and both sides are untoned.
5 — 1842-D Large-D Half Eagle NGC MS 61
Ex: Eliasberg Collection(Bowers & Ruddy, 10/1982); Arthur Montgomery Collection (Auction '84,Stack's, 7/1984); Farmer Collection; Hancock & Harwell
This extremely rare example is the only Mint State coin certified by NGC (7-12). The dies having a large date and large reverse lettering did not arrive until the fall of 1842, and the published mintage figure of 21,691 is almost certainly higher than the number actually produced bearing the 1842 date.
6 — 1842-D Small-D Half Eagle NGC MS 63
Ex: Eliasberg Collection(Bowers & Ruddy, 10/1982); Farmer Collection; Hancock & Harwell
There are two major varieties of the 1842 D half eagle. This example is of the more often seen variety, with a small date and small reverse lettering. It is thus transitional with the earlier issues of 1839-41. This pleasing coin features bright luster,with just a trace of proof like brilliance in the protected areas.
7 — 1843-D Medium-D Half Eagle NGC MS 64
Ex: Blanchard & Company(Discovered, 1990 s); Hancock & Harwell
This issue is among the most often seen of Dahlonega Mint half eagles, and it is frequently selected by persons desiring just a single coin to represent that southern mint. The Duke's Creek specimen is the finest example graded by NGC (7-12), and it is a coin of nearly unparalleled beauty among D-Mint gold. Fully struck and entirely untoned, it exhibits dazzling luster that combines richly frosted textures with semi-proof like brilliance.
8 — 1844-D Half Eagle NGC MS 64 +
Ex: Stack's (1/1958);Pittman Collection (David Akers, 10/1997); Hancock & Harwell
The 1844 D half eagle is another issue that tends to come nicer than the typical Dahlonega coin. Not surprisingly then, this piece is fully struck throughout and displays pleasing luster that blends brilliant areas with patches of coarsely-grained frostiness.This lovely specimen is the finest example certified by NGC (7-12).
9 — 1845-D Half Eagle NGC MS 64 +
Ex: Elmer Sears Collection(1920); John Clapp Collection (1942); Eliasberg Collection (Bowers & Ruddy,10/1982); Farmer Collection; Hancock & Harwell
A challenging date to locate with good eye appeal, but the Duke's Creek specimen is the rare exception. It is sharply struck and free of serious marks. Both sides are mostly brilliant, with the usual graininess at the peripheries so typical of D-Mint coins. NGC has certified no others at this grade and none finer (7-12).
10 — 1846-D Half Eagle NGC MS 61
Ex: Hancock & Harwell
Tied for Finest Known
Three die marriages are known for the 1846 D half eagle with normal mint mark. Ironically, this one features the reverse formerly having a boldly repunched D, but the die was sufficiently repolished to remove the duplicate mint mark. This date with the normal reverse is by far the more rare variety. NGC has graded just one other as MS 61 and none finer (7-12).
11 — 1846-D/D VP-001 Half Eagle NGC MS 66
Ex: Stack's (3/1993);Hancock & Harwell
Wow! Any Dahlonega Mint coin grading MS 66 is a major rarity, but this amazing specimen also features a very distinctive and popular variety. This die marriage is one of four known for the 1846 D half eagle, and its boldly double punched mint mark makes it a hit with both early gold specialists and variety collectors. Semi-proof like on both sides, this surface is blended with patches of frosty luster. This splendid half eagle is superbly struck and free of all but the tiniest marks. A full three grades points higher than the next finest example certified by NGC, this is a truly memorable entry in the Duke's Creek Collection.
12 — 1847-D Half Eagle NGC MS 63
Ex: Col. E. H. R. Green Collection; Farouk Collection (Sotheby's, 2/1954); Pittman Collection (David Akers, 10/1997); Farmer Collection; Hancock & Harwell
Tied for Finest Known
This is one of the more often seen issues from the Dahlonega Mint, and it is a good candidate for the type collector seeking something more exotic than the usual Philadelphia piece. This is a very attractive example, with the only weakness noted being at the dangling hair curl below Liberty's ear. Both sides are bright and lustrous, with only a scattering of small marks.