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1798 $1 Small Eagle, 13 Stars MS63 NGC. B-1, BB-82, R.2....

2013 November 15 - 16 Selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection Part II Signature Auction - New York #1190

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Auction Ended On: Nov 15, 2013
Item Activity: 13 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Ukrainian Institute of America at The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion
2 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075

1798 B-1, BB-82 Dollar, MS63
Small Eagle, 13 Stars Obverse
The Finest Known by a Wide Margin
1798 $1 Small Eagle, 13 Stars MS63 NGC. B-1, BB-82, R.2. Ex: "Col." E.H.R. Green. This Select Mint State piece is fully lustrous with brilliant silver surfaces and delicate peripheral iridescence. Slight weakness is evident on a few hair curls and on the eagle's high points. The usual grade-consistent marks appear in the fields with clean devices.

Obverse Die. The 1798 B-1, BB-82 die marriage represents the 13 Stars obverse type, mated with the Small Eagle reverse. The 9 in the date is the Knob 9 style. Six of the 1798-dated Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle dollar varieties also have dies with a Knob 9 punch. This die reappeared with a Heraldic Eagle reverse to strike B-32, BB-91.

Reverse Die. The Large Letters reverse die from the 1798 B-1, BB-82 was used earlier to make the 1797 B-1, BB-73 dollars, in Bowers-Borckardt Die States I through IV. This reverse die state (with the new 1798 obverse) is listed as Die State I for the 1798 B-1, BB-82 dollars, and the die cracks advanced. After the 1798 BB-82 coinage was finished, the Large Letters reverse die was remated with the 1797 9x7 Stars obverse die, and more of the 1797 B-1, BB-73 coins were struck (but a later reverse die state, BB Die State V or VI) -- likely all of them in 1798.

Die State. The obverse die on this specimen is lapped with incomplete curls atop the head and behind the shoulder. Delicate clash marks are noted in the obverse fields. The reverse die shows extensive die cracks, equal to the latest known die state. The Green-Newman 1798 B-1, BB-82 was struck from a very late state of the dies, Bowers Die State III (equivalent to BB Die State V for the 1797 BB-73). Thus sometime after the Newman specimen was struck, the reverse die was reused for more examples of the 1797 B-1, BB-73.

Condition Census. The Newman example graded MS63 NGC, is the finest known specimen of 1798 B-1, BB-82 by some margin, and in our opinion, the only true Uncirculated example known. A coin that should certainly set a new record price for this die marriage and major type.

The 1993 Bowers-Borckardt reference and the 2013 Encyclopedia list under Notable Specimens only one coin in Choice Mint State, a piece that had gone unseen for more than 100 years:

"Cleneay Specimen. MS-64. The Thomas Cleneay Collection gem (Chapman brothers,1890) may be the only truly Mint State example known and is arbitrarily designated as MS-64 in the Population Distribution below."

The coin was lot #933 and sold for $32.50.

Stuart Levine plate matched the Newman coin as the Cleneay specimen. Mike Clark agreed, noting the two matching marks appearing on the obverse, one above the nose and one below. The toning streak on the eagle's right wing plate matches the reverse.

Appearances. This specimen is illustrated as part of NGC's presentation of the Newman Collection at

Commentary. By 1798 the Draped Bust, Small Eagle design, first struck beginning in October 1795, was entering its fourth year. Draped Bust, Small Eagle coins dated 1795, 1796, and 1797 had been struck from multiple die pairings. But the number and arrangement of obverse stars was changed in 1798, creating two major types for the 1798 Draped Bust, Small Eagle coins. One shows 15 stars, arranged eight left and seven right; the second shows 13 stars, arranged seven left and six right.

The 1798 Draped Bust, 13 Stars obverse die mated to the Small Eagle reverse is all that is needed to attribute this die marriage. The 13 Star obverse of 1798 was mated solely (among Small Eagle coins) with the Small Eagle, Large Letters reverse previously used on the 1797 B-1, BB-73; the 1798 15 Star obverse was mated solely with the Small Eagle, Small Letters reverse that had been used already for five die marriages from 1795 through 1797. High-grade examples of both major types -- the 1798 Small Eagle, 13 Stars and the 1798 Small Eagle, 15 Stars -- are among the Newman Collection coins in the present Platinum Night offering.

Provenance. Ex: Thomas Cleneay (Chapman Brothers, 12/1890), lot 933; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $75.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24X5, PCGS# 6867)

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