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Choice XF 1796 Eagle, BD-1
Early Die State, Fully Struck Eagle's Breast

1796 $10 XF45 PCGS. Breen-6832, Taraszka-6, BD-1, R.4. Only 4,146 eagles were reportedly coined in 1796, the second year of the largest gold denomination of the era. A sole die pairing is known for the entire production, although Bass-Dannreuther allow the possibility that some few hundred may have been produced dated 1795. They estimate that 125 to 175 pieces survive today of the 1796.
The obverse die, besides the obvious date, shows 16 stars aligned eight left and eight right, indicating the die had been likely made after Tennessee joined the Union on June 1, 1796. The reverse die displays 11 palm leaves on the branch at the eagle's feet, and the olive wreath tips meet just at the upright of the E in STATES. The reverse die was reused for the 1797 Small Eagle coinage, so it is theoretically possible that some 1797-dated coins could have been made in 1796, or some of the 1796-dated coins made in 1797, as die state evidence suggests a reuse of the reverse die in a late state, again with a 1796 obverse, after production of some of the 1797s.
The Mint paid no heed to such details as the dates on the coins, so guesswork is in order and prevalent throughout numismatic research. In any case, the present coin seems to exhibit a fairly early die state on each side, as the only mentionable die crack is a small one within the olive wreath, joining the two topmost inner leaves. The light wear this Choice XF piece displays is consistent with the grade, and as a bonus, the reverse is fully defined on the eagle's breast. A few small abrasions dot the surfaces but are of minor import, none worthy of singular mention. Certified in a green-label holder.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFYM, PCGS# 8554)

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Auction Dates
January, 2012
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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