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Mint State 1797 Eagle
Heraldic Eagle Reverse
Rarest Variety, BD-3

1797 $10 Large Eagle MS61 NGC. BD-3, R.5. Bass-Dannreuther Die State d/b. The Small Eagle reverse design was retired in 1797, in favor of the majestic Heraldic Eagle motif. A reported mintage of 10,940 Capped Bust Right eagles was accomplished with the new design, and three die varieties are known for the date and type. The present coin represents the rarest of the 1797-dated varieties, the BD-3, which probably had an original mintage in the 1,750-2,500 piece range, but may not have been struck in 1797. The BD-3 is easily recognized by the short thin neck on the eagle and the irregular cross pattern of the stars on the reverse. John Dannreuther estimates no more than 40-50 examples of the BD-3 remain extant in all grades.
Die state evidence indicates the BD-3 was actually struck after both varieties of the 1798/7 eagle, which employ the same reverse die in earlier states. There is some doubt about the engraver of this reverse die, as the tail feathers and shield stripes resemble other dies by John Smith Gardner, while the short eagle's neck is more typical of Robert Scot's work. Perhaps both men had a hand in engraving this die. The same obverse die was used to strike all three varieties of the date.
The present coin is a rare Mint State example of the BD-3, which is seldom encountered in higher grades. The vivid greenish-gold surfaces display vibrant mint luster, with the expected number of minor contact marks for the grade. Some faint adjustment marks are visible in the obverse rim and the lower bust. The design elements are well-detailed, with just a touch of softness on the central devices. This coin will be a welcome addition to a fine collection of early gold. Census (for all varieties): 34 in 61, 19 finer (4/12).(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 25ZY, PCGS# 8559)

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Auction Dates
May-Jun, 2012
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 13
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