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Near-Mint 1795 Small Eagle Ten, BD-51795 $10 13 Leaves AU58 NGC. Breen-6830, Taraszka-5, BD-5, R.5. The first American ten dollar gold coins are dated 1795, with production starting in September 1795 and continuing into 1796. Varieties include the plentiful 13 Leaves BD-1 marriage, and the famous Nine Leaves coin, identified as BD-3. Other varieties are all of the 13 Leaves type, including the final die marriage of the 1795-dated series, BD-5 that is offered here.
Great confusion about this die variety has resulted from an old description that Walter Breen wrote in the 1960s, stating that the obverse is the same as that found on the 1795 Nine Leaves coins. Later, any appearance of BD-5 where the cataloger noted that the obverse is different resulted in an extensive description, calling the variety "new" or "unlisted." The reality is that the 1795 BD-5 die combination has been known for many years, as have all five 1795 varieties, since Edgar Adams first described them in his early 20th century notebook.
In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, A Study of Die States, 1795-1834, John Dannreuther estimates that only 35 to 45 examples of BD-5 survive. Among those are five or six Mint State coins and several AU specimens. Unfortunately, Dannreuther had no listing of top grade coins for the various varieties in his reference. However, Anthony Taraszka listed "Significant Specimens" for each variety in United States Ten Dollar Gold Eagles, 1795-1804. Taraszka recorded five Mint State coins for this variety in his reference.
The present near-Mint specimen falls just outside the Condition Census. It exhibits lustrous bright yellow surfaces with splashes of orange toning. The fields are reflective in combination with some mint frost. Both sides have a few minor marks but they are entirely trivial.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ZU, PCGS# 8551)
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