1837 Classic Head Half Eagle. HM-2. Rarity-3+. MS-66 (PCGS). CAC. A remarkable Classic Head half eagle irrespective of date, this is one of the finest Mint State coins obtainable for this brief and challenging type. Richly endowed with billowy mint luster, the surfaces are further enhanced by original color in vivid orange-gold. Fully struck and expertly preserved, even the most discerning gold enthusiast will be impressed by this premium quality Gem.<p>Designed by William Kneass, the Classic Head half eagle is one of the shortest series in U.S. coinage history. The type was produced only from 1834 through 1838, with mintages confined to the Philadelphia Mint in all years except for 1838 when small quantities were struck in Charlotte and Dahlonega. This is the first half eagle type produced after the Act of June 28, 1834, reduced the weight of this denomination from 8.75 grams to 8.36 grams. The same Act also reduced the gold content from 91.67% to 89.92%, although this was adjusted again in 1837 to 90% gold. These measures were intended to allow gold coins to circulate freely once again, as old tenor examples had seen widespread destruction through melting when rising gold prices resulted in their bullion value exceeding their face value. The United States Mint was actually one of the primary culprits in the destruction of old tenor gold coins; the bullion it obtained through this practice was used to strike a record 657,460 Classic Head half eagles in 1834, more than twice the previous record for the denomination achieved in 1820 (263,806 coins struck). By 1837 yearly mintages for this denomination had returned to more normal levels, explaining the scarcity of the final two Philadelphia Mint issues of this type compared to those struck from 1834 to 1836.<p>This remarkable PCGS/CAC MS-66 example is one of the two finest 1837 half eagles that we have ever offered. In fact, we believe that it is exceeded among all survivors of this issue by only the Bass-Pogue specimen that most recently appeared in our May 2016 Pogue IV Sale in a PCGS MS-66+ holder. It realized $235,000 as lot 4054 in that auction. The present example is also worthy of the strongest bids and is sure to command a nice premium.