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Evenly Lustrous 1801 Eagle, BD-2, MS621801 $10 MS62 PCGS. Breen-6843, Taraszka-25, BD-2, R.2. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a/a. The 1801 eagles were produced by two known die marriages--apparently quite unevenly, as the R.5 BD-1 is estimated by Bass and Dannreuther to have made only 2,500 to 4,000 coins, with the R.2 BD-2 pairing making up the remainder of 30,000 to 40,000 pieces.
On the BD-1 obverse, star 8 is away from the cap and has one point directed toward the cap; on the BD-2, star 8 is close to the cap and has two points directed toward the cap. The BD-1 shows star 13 away from the bust, while star 13 is close on BD-2. The star punch was also replaced between the BD-1 and BD-2 obverses, with the latter showing longer, more spindly spines. The BD-1 obverse also shows a series of anomalous "scoop marks" in a row along Liberty's cap, a feature that remains unexplained but may be similar to the 1794 Starred Reverse cent.
The reverses are also different; the BD-1 reverse is a carryover from 1799, with the eagle's beak touching or nearly touching two star points. On the BD-2 reverse, the eagle's beak is close but not touching any star points. The BD-2 reverse appears here, then reappears in 1803 on the BD-3 Small Reverse Stars pairing, in Bass-Dannreuther's terminology.
The much greater availability of the 1801 BD-2 makes it an inescapable choice for type collectors; Harry W. Bass, Jr. owned three examples. For collectors who can afford only one, this specimen will make a good choice, with even luster over both sides. The coin may have been lightly wiped at some time, as there are minor field hairlines that appear only under a loupe. The strike is sharp but not full. The few minor ticks appearing in the left obverse field are consistent with the grade. Population: 64 in 62, 74 finer (1/11).(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 2627, PCGS# 8564)
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