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Pleasing Mint State 1799/8 Fifteen Stars Reverse Draped Bust Dollar

1799/8 $1 15 Stars Reverse MS62 NGC. B-3, BB-141, R.2. The surfaces are toned a medium russet gold over luster, and the strike is typical for the variety, with slight weakness on the high points. Examination of the surfaces notes a few nicks and scrapes, including some above the knot on Liberty's hair ribbon, and below the Y of LIBERTY in the field, and another dangling off the top of the R. On the reverse a few faint adjustment marks are found through the upper right clouds, and a couple of shallow nicks nest in the right wing near the shield.
This variety is always a favorite to see. First off, the overdate feature is comically bold, as no effort was put forth to hide the underdigit 8 beneath the second 9 of the date. For the mint engraver who happened to engrave these dies, a less than perfect day unfolded. Without thinking, 15 stars were placed over the eagle's head but the mistake was noticed, and rather than discard the die, or simply strike coins with it a decision was made to "hide" two of the stars. Dies are very difficult to erase errors from (thankfully for die variety collectors today), so the engraver decided to cover two of the stars by extending the clouds down, figuring no one would notice this boo-boo. Perhaps no one noticed until years later, and coinage continued using this pair of dies until they failed in the normal course of events. However, two little star points peek out from the enlarged cloud on the left, and one and a fraction star points extend from the enlarged cloud on the right. The engravers bad day is thus recalled by collectors today. Certainly one of the finer examples known of this important and popular overdate. Population: 8 in 62, 11 finer (10/05).
From The Jack Lee Collection, III(#6883) (Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24X8, PCGS# 6883)

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Auction Dates
November, 2005
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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