1909-O Indian head half eagle starts at $26,000

A US 1909-O Indian head half eagle will be sold with an opening bid of $25,850 at Heritage Auctions in Houston on December 3-6.

The design was first issued in 1908 and minted until 1915, when the first world war halted production. It was minted one last time in 1929.

1909 Indian Eagle
The 1909-O Indian half eagle was minted in New Orleans

The present lot is graded MS62.

Heritage explains: "The 1909-O half eagle is distinctive in several ways: it is the final gold issue produced at the New Orleans Mint, it is the sole O-mint Indian Head type coin, and it has the lowest circulation-strike mintage (34,200 pieces) of any date in the Indian half eagle series with a proportionately low survival rate in high grade.

"'About Uncirculated' examples are scarce, and Mint State representative through MS62 are extremely challenging.

"Pieces grading finer than this are genuine rarities, and Gem-quality coins are virtually uncollectible."

The record for the series is $690,000, set for an exceptional MS66-graded piece at Heritage in 2011.

A British 1652 Oak Tree shilling carries an opening bid of $25,850.

Only 10 examples of the coin are known, with the present lot the sole mint specimen and thus the finest known. It last sold for $54,050 at Heritage earlier this year.

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