1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle

The Mint Act of 1792 adopted a bimetallic standard, setting a 15:1 ratio between silver and gold. However, the law had no jurisdiction in Europe, where market forces drove the ratio to 16:1 and higher during the early years of the 19th century.

Bullion profiteers saw an opportunity in the ratio discrepancy. With 15 ounces of silver, a speculator could obtain one ounce of U.S. gold, which in turn, could buy 16 ounces of silver in Europe. With more silver in his pocket than before, the speculator returned to the U.S. and repeated the process as many times as possible.

This scenario seriously depleted the supply of circulating U.S. gold coins. By 1813, the only gold coin still in production was the $5.00 half eagle. This was the preferred denomination of banks, for being held as reserves and for international transactions, but eventually, most of them ended up in the melting pot too.

The Capped Head Half Eagle type was released by the Mint starting in 1813 and ran until 1834, but few of them reached America’s streets before heading across the Atlantic. Nearly 1.4 million Capped Head Half Eagles were struck, but precious few exist today due to melting losses. All dates carry great value.

The 1821 Capped Head Half Eagle was chosen to represent the series in our Rare Coin Values Index. The 1821 is actually a bit scarcer than most dates in the series, with an estimated survivorship of somewhere around 20 pieces. In terms of percent value increase over a long period of time, the 1821 is off the charts (see below).





1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle


1821 Gold $5 Half Eagle
Coin Photos courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries




1821 Half Eagle Price Increase Chart

1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle (F-12 Condition)

The 1821 Capped Head Half Eagle has one of the finest records of value increase in United States numismatics. The blue line above illustrates how strongly the 1821 Half Eagle has increased in percent value since Jan 2000, in F-12 condition. As you can see, it has multiplied in value several times since then, going off the chart for a while. The red line is the percent increase over the same time period of the Rare Coin Values Index, which tracks the performance of a cross sectional group of 87 rare US coins. The Index was created to get a feel for how well the US rare coin market is performing overall. The 1821 Half Eagle is one of the 87 coins included in the Index. All Index data is updated monthly.


 

Members of the Rare Coin Values Index
Date Coin Type Grade Est. Retail Value Nov 2022
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent G-4 4000
1802 2/0 Rev 1802 Draped Bust Half Cent G-4 900
1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Large Cent G-4 10000
1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent G-4 35000
1799 Draped Bust Large Cent G-4 6500
1856 Flying Eagle Cent G-4 6500
1877 Indian Head Cent G-4 600
1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent G-4 625
1914-D Lincoln Cent G-4 170
1922-D (No D) Lincoln Cent G-4 550
1864 Small Motto Two Cent F-12 425
1865 Three Cent Silver PF-65 1750
1884 Three Cent Nickel F-12 1150
1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime G-4 1400
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1800 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dime G-4 325
1879 Shield Nickel VG-8 575
1885 Liberty Nickel VG-8 675
1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel G-4 325
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel G-4 775
1937-D 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel G-4 475
1796 Draped Bust Dime G-4 3500
1822 Capped Bust Dime G-4 2000
1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime G-4 3250
1895-O Barber Dime G-4 525
1916-D Mercury Dime VG-8 1400
1942/1-D Mercury Dime VG-8 425
1875-CC Twenty Cent G-4 250
1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter G-4 12500
1804 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Quarter G-4 4000
1823 Capped Bust Quarter G-4 40000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Quarter G-4 9000
1896-S Barber Quarter G-4 750
1901-S Barber Quarter G-4 4750
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 2900
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 1150
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 300
1932-D Washington Quarter F-12 90
1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar G-4 5500
1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar G-4 42500
1815/12 Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1750
1836 Reed Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1250
1870-CC Seated Liberty Half Dollar G-4 900
1892-O Barber Half Dollar G-4 325
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 350
1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 60
1953-S Franklin Half Dollar MS-65 FBL 27500
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar G-4 75000
1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 2000
1801 Draped Bust Large Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1100
1836 Gobrecht Dollar, Name on Base, Circ. Issue XF-40 12500
1873-CC Seated Liberty Dollar G-4 12000
1879 Trade Dollar PF-65 6900
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 1250
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 4000
1895 Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 (PF Only) 35000
1928 Peace Dollar F-12 225
1849-C Cl. Wreath Type One Gold Dollar VF-20 2350
1855-D Type Two Gold Dollar VF-20 25000
1861-D Type Three Gold Dollar VF-20 45000
1796 No Stars Capped Bust $ 2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 64500
1808 Capped Draped Bust $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 53500
1826 Capped Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 13750
1838-C Classic Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 4500
1848 CAL. Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 37500
1856-D Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 14500
1911-D Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle XF-40 3750
1854-D Indian Head Three Dollar F-12 32500
1795 Capped Bust Small Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 27500
1800 Capped Bust Large Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 4500
1808 Capped Draped Bust $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 3850
1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 32500
1833 Large Date Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 22500
1834 Cross 4 Classic Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 1950
1861-D Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 25000
1870-CC Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 30000
1909-O Indian Head $5.00 Half Eagle XF-40 8000
1795 9 Leaves Capped Bust Small Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 105750
1804 Capped Bust Large Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 20000
1841-O Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 9750
1879-CC Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 22000
1911-D Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 2250
1930-S Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 31250
1859-O Coronet $20 Double Eagle VF-20 20000
1907 Wire Rim St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 11000
1921 St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 47500


See the 87 Index Coins