Because of the extreme rarity of this issue and the fact that only one example is in private hands at this time it is extremely difficult to determine any reliable value for the 1822 half eagle. No recent sales records are known because the coin has not been sold for over a quarter of a century. Estimates of the current value of the 1822 half eagle range from an estimated five million to over ten million dollars. When sold it might set a new record for any United States coin ever publicly sold at auction. The coin is said to be presently in a prominent Texas collection and it is unknown if and when it will be sold next. It last sold in October 1982 for $687,500 and it is without doubt that this coin would prove to have been an excellent investment.
As for the finest known, it is not too difficult to grade all three known examples. The Eliasberg specimen, the only known example in private hands (with a pedigree dating back to the mid 19th century), has an estimated grade of EF-45, possibly AU by modern grading standards. It clearly is the finest known. The two Smithsonian examples, one which came out of the Lilly collection (which was donated to the Smithsonian Institution) grade VF and EF. The VF example is said to be part of the collection assembled by former Mint director Adam Eckfeldt and clearly circulated for awhile. Unfortunately, like many of the coins of the Smithsonian collection, both have been cleaned.
Ever since numismatics became more popular in the 1850s, the 1822 half eagle has been recognized as one of the rarest of all American coins. For over 100 years no additional examples have been found and it seems very unlikely that one will ever turn-up. However, if another example does turn up, it would be ranked as one of the greatest numismatic finds of the century, or perhaps of all-time.