Welcome Sign-In | Join Now
Sold for Sign-in or Join (free & quick) includes Buyer's Premium (BP) 


Near-Mint State 1803 Extra Star Eagle, BD-5

1803 $10 Extra Star AU58 NGC. Breen-6845, BD-5, Taraszka-30, High R.4. Although the BD-5 die marriage was known for decades, nobody seemed to notice the extra star embedded in the reverse's rightmost cloud until Harry W. Bass, Jr.'s 1966 discovery. Why the die sinker placed the star within the cloud will never be known, but such anomalies--even wildly misplaced dates and upside-down digits--exist in many 18th and 19th century coinage series of the United States. Perhaps the engraver wanted to test the punch in a seemingly inconspicuous place, or maybe it was a secret mark like the notched 13th star that was John Reich's secret signature. It is this cataloger's speculation that an issue with the existing star punch required the use of a new star punch and a test mark was made in a hidden location. Since the tool used to create the errant star was smaller than any punch used on eagles of that era, the die sinker may have made the decision to use a larger punch for spacing and layout purposes. Again, this is pure speculation. Why the Mint changed star punches at all is a more intriguing question, but the reason was likely a matter of a broken tool as opposed to a style change. Such is the allure of early American numismatics.
The rarity of this variety has been debated for years. Determining the true rarity of early gold varieties by the analysis of certified population data is risky due to the fact that most dates have a catchall category comprising different varieties, among other reasons. For a better understanding of a variety's extant population, we turn to the exhaustive research of specialists such as Harry W. Bass, Jr. and John Dannreuther who, in their 2006 treatise on the subject, estimated that approximately 100 1803 BD-5 tens have survived. The other Large Reverse Stars variety, BD-6, is even rarer, with as few of 10 extant pieces. Six different die marriages were used to strike 1803-dated eagles. The first four in the emission sequence are of the Small Reverse Stars type, and the authors opine that they are twice as plentiful--as a group--as their cousins with larger reverse stars.
This is a sharply defined example that shows even yellow-gold color. The surfaces are minimally abraded, and in fact show no singularly mentionable marks on either side. Significant portions of mint luster can be seen around the devices. (NGC ID# 262A, PCGS# 88565)

Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

Sales Tax information  | NGC Coin Grading Guarantee  |  Terms and Conditions

Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

Glossary of Terms

Auction Info

Auction Dates
February, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 1,139

Buyer's Premium per Lot:
15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

Heritage membership

sold in the last year

Join Now - It's Free

  1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
  2. Bid online
  3. Free Collector newsletter
  4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
  5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your

Consignments wanted

Only 43 days left to consign to the 2015 December 10 - 12 World Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong!

Learn about consigning with us

Please give a big thank you to the entire Heritage team. Everyone was a pleasure to work with and Heritage delivered beyond our expectations.
Cheryl Rubin, Sr. Vice President-Brand Management DC Comics,
New York, NY
View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. To compare for yourself, visit:

Video tutorial

Getting the most out of search

Recent auctions

2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
REALIZED $34,887,709
2015 August 13 ANA World and Ancient Coins Platinum Night Auction
2015 August 13 ANA World and Ancient Coins Platinum Night Auction
REALIZED $9,681,373
2015 August 13 ANA Currency Platinum Night Auction - Chicago
2015 August 13 ANA Currency Platinum Night Auction - Chicago
REALIZED $1,870,380

© 2015 Heritage Auctions | All Rights Reserved