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1798/7 Capped Bust Eagle, XF45
Scarce 9x4 Stars, BD-1 Variety

1798/7 $10 9x4 Stars XF45 PCGS. Breen-6836, Taraszka-9, BD-1, High R.4. Two varieties of 1798 Capped Bust Right eagles are known to numismatists today, both struck from 1797 obverse dies that were overdated with the later date. The reverse die is believed to be one of three created by John Smith Gardner in 1796. The present coin represents the BD-1 variety, easily recognized by the 9x4 obverse star pattern. The 2011 Guide Book reports the mintage of the BD-1 variety as 900 pieces, but other sources believe as many as 1,600 examples may have been struck. Die state evidence indicates this issue was actually struck before some of the 1797 dated eagles, further confusing the issue. The BD-1 is certainly a scarce variety today, with John Dannreuther estimating a surviving population of 80-100 pieces in all grades.
As a general rule, collecting large denomination gold coins did not become popular until the 1930s, but the early eagles are an exception to this axiom. The historical importance of these early issues, and the short length of the series (1795-1804) tempted many early numismatists to include them in their collections. The 1798/7 was prized as a date, and the two separate varieties were quickly recognized by early catalogers. In lot 851 of the Randall Collection (Woodward, 6/1885), the cataloger noted:

"1798 No. 2; die altered from 1797; 13 stars, 4 of which are facing; splendid proof, one of the rarest of the eagles."

The present coin shows light wear on the well struck devices, but most original detail remains intact. Likewise, most original mint luster is still present. The pleasing surfaces are an attractive greenish-gold color, and only minor abrasions can be detected. A characteristic die crack is observed, from the edge, through L in LIBERTY, and through the cap. Population: 4 in 45, 19 finer (10/10).(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 4UPT, PCGS# 8560)

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Auction Dates
December, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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