The 1815 Capped Bust Half Eagle has the lowest mintage of the series at a mere 635 pieces. The entire mintage was released by the Mint in a single batch on November 3, 1815. There are currently only eleven individual pieces positively identified, with a few more pieces rumored to exist. All known examples are struck from a single die pair.
For much of the 19th century, this issue was viewed as the most famous and important rarity of all American gold coinage. Although the issue is still counted amongst the great rarities, other issues of the series have emerged with an even lower number of surviving specimens despite having higher mintages. This was the result of massive gold melts of the 1820’s, which permanently eliminated vast portions of the original mintages for some issues.
Of the eleven known specimens of the 1815 Capped Bust Half Eagle, five are permanently impounded in museum collections, leaving a supply of only six coins for the public market. These coins come to market very infrequently and represent major numismatic events. The single finest known example graded PCGS MS-65 sold at auction for $822,500 in 2016.