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Description

1797 Capped Bust Right Ten, MS61
Heraldic Eagle, BD-4
First Year of Type

1797 $10 Large Eagle MS61 PCGS. Breen-6834, Taraszka-12, BD-4, High R.4. The Heraldic Eagle reverse was used for the first time in 1797, after the Small Eagle design was retired part way through the year. Mint records indicate a production total of 10,940 pieces for the design, with three different die marriages known. The same obverse die was used in all three marriages, so keys to the varieties are found on the reverse. The present coin is a representative of the BD-4 variety, characterized by the long, thin neck of the eagle, and the position of the arrows on the reverse, with one arrow tip nearly to the end of N in UNITED. The most available variety of the date, BD-4 had an estimated initial mintage of 3,500-5,000 pieces. John Dannreuther estimates 90-110 examples are known today.
Eagles of 1797 have been popular numismatic items since the early days of the hobby, but knowledge of specific die varieties only developed in the 20th century. In the George Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lots 2289, 2290, and 2291 were all examples of different varieties of 1797 eagles. Chapman correctly identified lot 2289 as the obvious Small Eagle variety, but he believed the other two lots were of an identical Heraldic Eagle design. In fact, plates of the two lots reveal that lot 2290 was a BD-2 specimen, while lot 2291 was the subtly different BD-4. Extensive, systematic knowledge of die varieties of early gold denominations has only become available in recent times, thanks to research by specialists such as Harry Bass and John Dannreuther.
The present coin features bright, semiprooflike fields, with yellow-gold color overlaid with a slight reddish patina. The striking details are a little soft on the hair curls, but the eagle's plumage is complete. The usual die crack through the second 7 is visible, as well as a crack between E and R in AMERICA. Numerous small abrasions are scattered about the surfaces, but none are worthy of individual mention. Population: 16 in 61, 15 finer (11/09).
From The Stan Burger Collection.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 25ZY, PCGS# 8559)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
6th-10th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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