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Rare and Important 1795 9 Leaves Small Eagle Ten Dollar AU501795 $10 9 Leaves AU50 PCGS. Breen-6831, B. 4-C, Taraszka-3, R.6. The 1795 9 Leaves Eagle is an elusive issue that has garnered much numismatic attention over the past 35 years. Common wisdom has it that this variety was not discovered until 1960 when a coin appeared in the "Cicero" Sale (New Netherlands). However, it was apparently a known variety to Waldo Newcomer in 1926 who paid $100 for a VF example, several times the then-current price for a 1795 13 Leaves. The earliest published reference that we could find for the Nine Leaves variety was a coin in Edgar Adams article that he published in the May 1934 issue of "Coin Collector's Journal" entitled "Early United States Gold Coins: Eagles." However, it appears the variety was more or less forgotten until the 1960 sale. Since that time, examples have turned up at auction on average of every two to three years.
Designed by Robert Scot, Walter Breen states that 116 pieces were struck on March 30, 1796, and an unknown (but presumably small) number had also been struck on March 1, 1796 on Warrant No. 58, which had a total mintage of 1,169 pieces. Robert Hilt believes that the Nine Leaves comprised a portion (he estimated 210 pieces) struck on Warrant No. 66 of June 21, 1796. It is has been estimated that fewer than a dozen specimens are extant in all grades, a figure that allowing for resubmissions might still be two or three coins low since the combined PCGS and NGC census totals 21 pieces in addition to two damaged coins known to us certified by ANACS and NCS. As such, it is the rarest Guide Book type among all early Tens, barely surpassing the 1798/7, 7x6 Stars.
This example, like several of the surviving 9 Leaves Ten Dollar pieces, originated from the Diocese of Buffalo holdings (an extraordinary four-coin group) that Heritage sold in 1997 and 1998. This appealing representative does not show flan chips from foreign matter that possibly adhered to the die at the time of striking. However, it does have two diagnostic die cracks on the reverse. One is a jagged V-shaped crack below leaves 2-4 (counting from the right). The other is also irregular in shape, through the top of the first T in STATES. In all likelihood, these cracks were responsible for the early retirement of this reverse die after only 116 impressions (per Breen) were made. The fields are semi-reflective, as seen on other 9 Leaves as well as many other 1795 Eagles. Generally the striking details are well brought up except on the hair of Liberty just behind the ear and on the eagle's breast. Bright rose tinted patina surrounds the outer devices, yielding a pleasing two-toned effect against the medium orange-gold color of the coin seen elsewhere. There are no large contact marks that would aid a researcher in identifying this coin in the future. Just a few pecks in the fields, one below the eagle's left (facing) wing, and a small cluster below the bottom of the circular wreath. Of the greatest rarity and importance to U.S. gold collectors.
Ex: Mid-Winter ANA Sale (Heritage, 3/97), lot 6421.
From The Cincinnati Collection.(#8552)(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFYL, PCGS# 8552)
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