1834 Classic Head Half Eagle. HM-3. Rarity-2. Plain 4. MS-65 (PCGS). CAC. <strong>Die Variety: </strong>HM-3. Obverse 3: Plain 4 in the date with a tall 1 and script 8. The letter E in LIBERTY is low, and star 13 is closer to the denticles than to Libertys hair. The HM-3 variety represents one of three uses of this obverse die for the 1834 Classic Head half eagle issue. Reverse C: The eagle has no tongue, and there is no berry in the branch. The middle leaf cluster is far from the U in UNITED and appears to droop away from that letter. This reverse went on to strike two other varieties in this series, one more in 1834 and another in 1835.<p><strong>Die Emission Sequence: </strong>With Proofs struck from this pairing, it is beyond doubt that the 1834 HM-3 represents the first use of Obverse 3 and Reverse C in the Classic Head half eagle series. Its mintage is almost certainly included in that reported by the Mint for half eagles during calendar year 1834.<p><strong>Die State: </strong>Representing a somewhat later die state of the 1834 HM-3 attribution, the Virginian Collection specimen no longer exhibits the guide lines around the periphery of the reverse which aided the engraver when punching the letters into the die. The die has now also develop a crack from the tip of the eagles left wing to the border.<p><strong>Estimated Surviving Population for the Variety:</strong> 710 coins in all grades (per Daryl J. Haynor, 2020), or 27% of extant 1834 Classic Head half eagles.<p><strong>Strike: </strong>Struck from a somewhat advanced die state, as above, this piece is softly impressed in the center of the obverse above Libertys ear. The reverse is also soft through the left third of the shield and within the eagles right wing and leg at their junction with the shield. Otherwise we note bold to sharp detail throughout the design.<p><strong>Surfaces: </strong>Exceptionally well preserved, both sides exhibit glowing reflectivity in the fields that supports satin to softly frosted motifs. Handsome golden-orange color with intermingled blushes of pale pinkish-rose. As nice as should be expected at the assigned grade level, although a reeding mark in the reverse field between the eagles head and the letter O in OF is noted, and serves as a useful provenance marker.<p><strong>Commentary: </strong>After only HM-5, HM-3 is the most frequently encountered die pairing of this issue. When we further consider that it is one of two marriages that also struck Proofs of this date (the other is HM-1), a strong case can be made for placing HM-3 among the first varieties produced for the circulation strike Classic Head half eagle series. At very least it is one of the earliest released from the Mint, for many of the survivors are almost certainly coins set aside at the time due to the novelty of the design. This was obviously the case with the present Gem, although with such exceptionally well preserved surfaces it is a notable condition rarity that clearly found its way into numismatic hands shortly after striking. Ranked #3 in Daryl J. Haynors 2020 listing of finest known examples of the 1834 Plain 4 <em>Guide Book</em> variety, it is a Condition Census coin destined for the finest type or date set. PCGS# 765193. NGC ID: 25RR. PCGS Population (all die marriages of the issue): 4; 5 finer (MS-66 finest).</p><p>CAC Population: 2; 2.</p> From the Daryl J. Haynor Virginian Collection. Earlier from Heritages Chicago ANA Signature Auction of August 2014, lot 5649. The plate coin for the 1834 HM-3 variety in the 2020 Haynor reference on Classic Gold coinage.