This version has a more feminine Miss Liberty facing left wearing a coronet with LIBERTY in relief. This coin is often referred to as the Coronet Type. Her hair is in a bun tied with a string of pearls, and below her is the date and surrounding her are 13 stars. The design is very simple, very pleasing and resembles the design used since 1808. The size of the letters and numbers differ slightly, but it still retains the same basic devices. Like its Classic Head predecessor, this Type does not have the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM displayed. In 1839 the mintmark was placed on the obverse just above the date. For coins dated 1840 and later, the mintmark is found on the reverse, below the eagle and above the denomination.
The Classic Head Type was a stopgap measure meant to put gold coins back into circulation. It was a tremendous success, but was never intended to be a long-term design. The Mint wanted a symbol of Liberty befitting a growing, prosperous nation and a rehash of the 1808 Large Cent simply would not suffice. Christian Gobrecht had created a new design for the gold eagle in 1838. That design was well received by all and was adapted to the half eagle in 1839 and then the quarter eagle in 1840. It was felt the design would stand the test of time, and also bring uniformity to all three circulating gold-coin denominations.
The uniformity brought about by a closed collar and hubbing of all design elements except for the date and mintmark limits the varieties found in this series almost exclusively to just the date and mintmark. An exception is the 1842 issue, which offers the collector both a large- and small-letter variety. A lack of varieties does not equate to a lack of rarities, though. There are many rarities in this Type, primarily the low-mintage branch Mint issues and low mintage, pre-Civil War Philadelphia examples. The rarest business strike is the 1854 issue from San Francisco, with a mintage of only 268. Of legendary status is the 1841 New Orleans issue. This coin has a recorded mintage of 50 pieces, but not a one has ever been seen, and it is probably another victim of the mass meltings.
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