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Exuberant 1797 Large Eagle
Ten Dollar, BD-2, AU58

1797 $10 Large Eagle AU58 NGC. Breen-6834, Taraszka-8, BD-2, High R.4. The year 1797 was one of transitions, both at the U.S. Mint and in the United States as a whole. George Washington finished his second term, refused to serve a third, and retired to his beloved Mount Vernon. John Adams took up the mantle as our nation's second president. At the Mint, after producing every authorized coinage denomination the year before from the half cent through ten dollar gold, in 1797 the facility came close to doing it again, omitting only quarters entirely from the lineup (and making some other types in minuscule quantities).
But the focus was on redesign. Tennessee joined the Union on June 1, 1796, and some coinage dies had a 16th star added in commemoration. Mint officials realized, however, that they could not continue adding stars for each new state, and the process of reversion to 13 stars began. Some denominations, such as the Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dime, show 15 stars, 16 stars, and 13 stars on different varieties. In gold and silver coinage, Mint Director Elias Boudinot was overseeing the replacement of the original Small Eagle reverse designs by the Large Eagle (or Heraldic Eagle) reverse, as on the present coin. The 1797 Large Eagle ten dollar, while far from a common early gold type, was produced to the extent of an estimated 10,940 coins, or about three times the 3,615 pieces given for the 1797 Small Eagle ten.
On this variety the obverse stars are arranged 10 x 6 on the left and right, respectively. There is a star on the reverse under the eagle's beak, and the eagle's neck ends in a rather abrupt truncation that is not triangular. Stars 3, 9, 10, and 11 on the reverse are nearly in a straight line. On the obverse star 11 nearly touches the Y in LIBERTY. This same obverse die is paired with all three reverse dies known for the 1797 Large Eagle. Two small cracks pass from the rim below the last 7 through that digit and to the lower bust.
This piece offers exuberant luster radiating from the greenish-gold surfaces, which show little actual wear. There are no distracting abrasions, just some extremely light field chatter. Adjustment marks are mostly struck out, although with a loupe the diligent searcher can discern some well-hidden in the lower hair tresses. The reverse die is rotated about 20 degrees clockwise with respect to the obverse. In the present near-Mint State grade, this example should prove to be a superior acquisition for some astute bidder, as an excellent alternative to a lower-Mint State example.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 25ZY, PCGS# 8559)

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Auction Dates
September, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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