1839/8 $10 Liberty, Large Letters, Head of 1838 PCGS VF35 CAC. This is a rare and highly desirable two-year type coin, of which the 1839 date is more easily located than the 1838. First year of issue collectors – take note! The so-called “Large Letters” coins are actually a separate and distinct type from later issues and a side-by-side obverse comparison clearly makes this evident. We find any liberty gold coins with the prefix of “183” also command a greater attention than those starting in 1840 and beyond.
The original mintage for the 1839 is 25,801 pieces, and is easily classified as Very Scarce to Rare. Nicely preserved specimens such as the present coin are even more difficult to find as many have a lighter coloration and sheen. CAC concurs with the originality of this coin and has given its endorsement. Interestingly, seven (7) specimens were recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Republic.
For reasons that are not clear today, the Mint modified Gobrecht’s original design for the ten dollar gold coin partway through the year 1839. The new design featured differences in Liberty’s hairdo, neck truncation, and the size of the letters in the reverse legends. As David Akers points out, these differences in design are dramatic, and each design should be considered a separate subtype of the Liberty Head, No Motto eagle. In Collecting & Investing Strategies for United States Gold Coins, Jeff Ambio notes this date as the least expensive option for inclusion in a type set of major subtypes of the Liberty Head, No Motto eagle.