1836 Classic Head Half Eagle. HM-8. Rarity-4. MS-65 (PCGS). <strong>Die Variety: </strong>HM-8. Obverse 6: This die appears only in the current pairing. It is identifiable by a short digit 1 in the date, a block 8, and a double forelock curl. Reverse I: The eagle has no tongue and large talons, the branch with a single berry at the end of a full stem. The end of the branch stem is centered over the letter D in the denomination, and the letter O in OF is somewhat large and lower than the adjacent F. This die appears in only one other pairing, the 1836 HM-6.<p><strong>Die Emission Sequence: </strong>This variety was struck after the 1836 HM-6, with which it shares Reverse I.<p><strong>Die State: </strong>A light crack from the eagles left wing tip to the border confirms this coin as having been struck from a later state of these dies.<p><strong>Estimated Surviving Population for the Variety:</strong> 190 coins in all grades (per Daryl J. Haynor, 2020), or 12% of extant 1836 Classic Head half eagles.<p><strong>Strike: </strong>A touch of characteristic softness to the hair curls over Libertys forehead is easily overlooked on this otherwise sharply to fully struck example.<p><strong>Surfaces: </strong>Wonderful surfaces are fully brilliant with frosty yellow-gold luster. The obverse is smooth enough to support an even higher Gem Mint State grade, while for the reverse minor scuffing in the field areas below the eagles beak and right wing is noted for accuracy.<p><strong>Commentary: </strong>An old friend of our firm, we cataloged this lovely piece as part of our (Bowers and Merenas) October 1999 Bass II sale, in which it was observed that:<p><em>"We have handled a small number of coins from this die pair, but the only nicer example, and marginally at that, is the coin we sold in the Fairfield Collection sale of October 1977. This coin is probably one of the two or three finest known of this variety."</em><p>PCGS and NGC have certified a total of four 1836 half eagles of all varieties in grades of MS-65 and higher, but inasmuch as this is the only example from the HM-8 dies, it is alone at CC#1 for the attribution. Daryl J. Haynor (2020) carries it as the #3 coin in his list of finest knowns for the issue in is entirety, confirming its Condition Census standing by that measure, as well. A prettier and more technically advanced half eagle of this date hardly exists, and this leading rarity from Virginian Collection will be perfect for another world class gold cabinet. PCGS# 765239. NGC ID: 25RY. PCGS Population (all die marriages of the issue): 2; 0 finer. The corresponding NGC Census is 1/1 (MS-65+ finest at that service). From the Daryl J. Haynor Virginian Collection. Earlier ex Stacks, November 3, 1970, via private treaty; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; our (Bowers and Merenas) sale of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part II, October 1999, lot 848; Heritages Long Beach Signature Sale of February 2000, lot 6682; Heritages CSNS Signature Auction of April 2008, lot 2437; Heritages sale of the Oliver Collection, August 2011 Chicago Signature Auction, lot 7548; Heritages CSNS Signature Auction of April 2015, lot 5327. The plate coin for the 1836 HM-8 variety in the 2020 Haynor reference on Classic Gold coinage.