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Choice 1801 Capped Bust Right Eagle
Stunning Prooflike Surfaces
Popular BD-2 Variety

1801 $10 MS64 NGC. BD-2, R.2. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b. A reported mintage of 44,344 Capped Bust Right eagles was accomplished in 1801, but die evidence indicates some of these coins were actually dated 1800, and possibly some 1799-dated specimens are also included in the total. Two die varieties are known for the date, with this coin representing the more available BD-2 variety, identified by the position of obverse star 8 near the cap. The BD-2 variety probably accounted for 30,000-40,000 pieces of the reported mintage and the surviving population is estimated at 600-800 examples in all grades.

The BD-1 variety for 1801 is very scarce, and it seems that the old large star punch used on the obverse stars must have broken when preparing that die because the BD-2 obverse employs a different device, with longer, more spindly spines than the old punch. This was the only use of the obverse die, but the reverse was used again in 1803 to strike the BD-3 variety of that year.

The early eagles were avidly collected by numismatists from the earliest days of the hobby. An example of the 1801 appeared in lot 2740 of the Sixth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 3/1865), which sounds like it could be an early appearance of the present piece:

"1801 Splendid, perfectly uncirculated, almost proof; very scarce."

The lot realized $17, to John F. McCoy. Like all early eagles, the 1801 has increased in price steadily over the years. Recent sales include the remarkable MS64 PCGS example in lot 2104 of the Summer FUN Signature (Heritage, 6/2008), which realized $126,500.

The coin offered here is a spectacular Choice specimen, with stunning prooflike yellow-gold surfaces. The design elements are sharply detailed in most areas, but a few of the stars are flat, probably due to lapping. Some die-polish lines are evident in the obverse field, but no mentionable distractions are present, and there is no trace of adjustment marks. Eye appeal is incredible. Census: 27 in 64, 2 finer (2/13).(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 2627, PCGS# 8564)

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Auction Dates
March, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 18
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Page Views: 2,918

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