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Scarce Die Marriage 1795 Eagle 13 Leaves, BD-4, XF401795 $10 13 Leaves XF40 PCGS. Breen-6830, Taraszka-4, BD-4, R.5. The date is widely spaced, and the 5 is close to Liberty's bust above, but does not touch it. On the reverse, a leaf tip is farther from the U in UNITED than on any of the other reverse dies (this reverse die is shared by the BD-5 variety). There is a large die rust lump between F in OF and the first A in AMERICA.
The United States Coinage Act of April 2, 1792 allowed for the production of gold coins. Unfortunately, the Act also specified that gold coinage could not be struck until three of the new Mint's officials (the Assayer, the Chief Coiner, and the Treasurer) were bonded at $10,000 apiece. At that time, this was a huge sum of money, and this requirement prevented any gold coins from being minted until 1795, when the amount of the bond for each individual was decreased to an affordable level.
This is a fine-looking XF example that should make any collector proud. The rich coloration is a medium shade of green-gold, but subtle reddish accents are also evident on both sides. The slight degree of highpoint wear overall is definitely not excessive for the grade. The piece is a bit bright, and wispy hairlines are observed in the obverse and reverse fields, but the coin does not appear to have been harshly cleaned. A shallow planchet flaw is noted between and just the left of obverse stars 11 and 12, and there is a faint pinscratch that extends from the leftmost tip of star 13 to a point directly beneath the E in LIBERTY.
A visually pleasing example of this scarce die marriage from the first year of ten dollar eagle coinage. The recent Bass-Dannreuther reference book Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties (2006), indicates that there are currently an estimated 60 to 80 pieces remaining of the BD-4 variety, without providing a systematic Condition Census.
(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ZU, PCGS# 8551)
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