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Description

1803 Capped Bust Right Eagle, AU53
Large Stars Reverse, Very Rare BD-6 Variety
The Only Early Eagle Harry Bass Never Owned

1803 $10 AU53 NGC. Large Stars Reverse. Breen-6846, BD-6, R.7. A total of 15,017 Capped Bust Right, Heraldic Eagle ten dollar gold pieces were minted in 1803, with six die varieties known for the date. The present coin is a representative of the very rare BD-6 variety, easily recognized by the broken left foot of the right stand of the A's in the reverse lettering. In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, John Dannreuther estimates the original mintage of the BD-6 variety as 300-600 pieces, with perhaps just 6-10 examples surviving today. Population data from PCGS correspond well with this estimate, as two coins have been certified in AU53, with nine finer (6/10). This is the only variety of early eagle Harry Bass never owned.
The reverse die for this issue was also used to strike the scarce 1804 Crosslet 4, BD-1 variety, and analysis of the die states indicates the 1803 BD-6 variety was actually struck after the 1804 emission, making this the last regularly issued eagle of the design type. The reverse of this specimen shows several die cracks, including a heavy line from the edge, through the arrow fletchings, to the juncture of the eagle's leg with the shield. Another crack can be seen running through the eagle's tail to the letters of UNITED. Clearly, this was the last use of this die, which had been used on five previous occasions.
The present coin displays pleasing greenish-gold surfaces with much remaining mint luster. The devices are sharply rendered, and only slight wear is evident on the high points of the design. A few insignificant nicks along Liberty's cheek and jaw are the only marks of note. The following is a roster of the seven examples of BD-6 currently known to us:

1. MS62 NGC. Heritage (6/2008), lot 2106.
2. MS61 NGC. Heritage (8/1998), lot 7744.
3. AU58 PCGS. Superior (5/2006), lot 1192.
4. AU55. Bowers and Merena (9/1988), lot 538.
5. AU53 NGC. The present specimen. Ex: Superior (6/1981), lot 362.
6. XF45 PCGS. Los Angeles Pre-ANA (Heritage, 7/2009), lot 1297.
7. Net AG3; VG details, ex-Jewelry ANACS. Heritage (3/2003), lot 6347.
(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 262A, PCGS# 98565)

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Auction Dates
July, 2010
8th-11th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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