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Near-Mint 1796 Eagle
BD-1, Only Variety of the Date
Very Scarce Early Issue

1796 $10 AU58 NGC. BD-1, R.4. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/b. This piece has the vertical die crack almost always seen through the cap, below the E in LIBERTY. The reverse die is early in its life, proving that this piece was coined before 1797 pieces that used the same reverse die. Some later die states of the 1796 eagle were coined after the 1797 Small Eagle tens. The scenario creates confusion regarding original mintage figures. Some of the 4,146 eagles reported for 1796 were actually dated 1795, and some of the 3,615 eagles of 1797 were actually dated 1796.

While the 1795 Small Eagle tens are plentiful, those dated 1796 and, especially, 1797, are much rarer. John Dannreuther estimates a total survival of about 500 1795-dated eagles, about 150 1796-dated eagles, and only 60 1797 Small Eagle tens. For all of those issues, higher grades are much rarer. An accurate condition census of early eagles is nonexistent but such a record is highly needed. There are probably only 10 to 12 different Mint State 1796 eagles surviving today, with a couple dozen AU coins also known. The 1796 eagles have long been a favorite of collectors and recent auction appearances include the attractive AU58 PCGS coin in lot 4980 of the Pittsburgh Signature (Heritage, 10/2011) that realized $92,000.

This near-Mint specimen is highly lustrous with only a trace of wear on the high points. Both sides have minuscule marks that are expected for the grade, and light adjustment marks are visible in the hair. This impressive piece, with its slightly reflective fields and bright yellow surfaces, has excellent eye appeal and will grace a fine cabinet of early eagle varieties. Census: 29 in 58, 15 finer (1/13).(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFYM, PCGS# 8554)

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Auction Dates
February, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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