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Near-Mint State 1798/7 Eagle, BD-1
Popular, Collectible Early Overdate

1798/7 $10 9x4 Stars AU58 NGC. CAC. Breen-6836, Taraszka-9, BD-1, High R.4. Bass-Dannreuther Die State Obverse c / Reverse b. In numismatics, much of the activities of the early Mint are necessarily based on conjecture; facts are few, and much is unrecorded. But much conjecture turns into fact, forcing researchers to go back to first principles. So it is that the current 2012 Guide Book records mintages of 900 coins for the 1798/7 eagle, 9x4 Stars (BD-1) and 842 coins for the 1798/7 eagle, 7x6 Stars (BD-2). When one stops to think about it, such "facts" reported in the Guide Book, for two varieties in a single year, is unusual -- how many times have we seen the footnote "included in number above?" One can turn to Breen's Complete Encyclopedia and easily discover the Guide Book's source, his assertion that "the great rarities of this period [Scot's Heraldic Design, 1797-1804] are the two vars. dated 1798/7. The two deliveries of [900] and [842], Feb. 17 and 28, 1798, are believed to comprise, respectively, 6836 with stars 9 + 4, and 6837 with stars 7 + 6. Coinage of eagles was interrupted thereafter until May 14, 1799. Early breakage of both obv. dies may have been why."
Nonetheless, the Breen estimates hardly square with the Annual Report of Mint Director Elias Boudinot, submitted to Congress by President John Adams on January 31, 1799. That document reports a total of 7,974 eagles produced "since the first of January, 1798; during which time, the coinage has been stopped near three months, occasioned by the late calamitous fever, and the decay of some of the machinery."
Now, there certainly is no guarantee that the eagles produced in 1798 were all dated 1798/7, 1797, 1799, or any other date, for that matter, but it does cast doubt on the "exactitude" of the currently reported Guide Book figures. They are not facts. It is true that both the BD-1 and BD-2 varieties showed extensive die cracks that may have led to their early retirement -- but what dies were used for the remainder of the coinage, if any? Both 1798/7 varieties were struck with the Large Eagle reverse die that was carried over from the BD-3 of 1797, based on die state evidence.
Bass-Dannreuther estimate that 80 to 100 examples of the 1798/7 BD-1 survive. Both the overdate and the 9x4 star arrangement -- the only such among early gold issues -- make it an extremely popular and collectible overdate. The present near-Mint State specimen exhibits bright green gold color with deep reddish patina around all the devices on each side. Only minor rub is visible on the high points, but there is little luster. Three tiny field marks appear near star 12. Census: 11 in 58, 9 finer (11/11).(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 4UPT, PCGS# 8560)

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Auction Dates
January, 2012
3rd-8th Tuesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 689

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