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Near-Mint 1804 Heraldic Eagle Ten
Crosslet 4 Business Strike, BD-1

1804 $10 Crosslet 4 AU58 NGC. Breen-6847, Taraszka-31, BD-1, High R.4. Only two die varieties of 1804 eagles are known, the business strike Crosslet 4 and the extremely rare Plain 4 proof. The latter was struck in 1834 for placement in proof sets destined for such Far East potentates as the King of Siam and the Sultan of Muscat. As the only collectible variety of the final date of the Heraldic Eagle ten series, the BD-1 is highly popular. It is also likely rarer than the Bass-Dannreuther reference suggests, given the small number of coins certified at NGC and PCGS, and inevitable multiple resubmissions over the past 25 years. The reported mintage was 3,757 pieces, although it is possible that a portion of that delivery was coined from 1803-dated dies.
The present straw-gold Borderline Uncirculated representative is from the usual later die state with die cracks on the borders of both sides. Die rust, as made, is evident near the E in LIBERTY and at selected random locations on the reverse, and suggests that the dies were made months prior to coinage. Marks are surprisingly inconsequential for a large diameter gold coin that served a momentary stint in early American commerce. Each side has a few faint to moderate parallel lines. These are as struck, and are likely roller marks instead of adjustment marks. They are most apparent on the lower obverse. On the reverse, they are limited to the eagle's shield.
The luster extent is enticing, particularly on the reverse. The open fields appear semi-prooflike. The strike is generally good, although the profile lacks full detail, as does obverse star 2 and the extremities of the eagle's right (facing) wing. A couple of clouds and the stars below are also lightly brought up. On the other hand, the breast feathers are bold, as the left wing and scroll are intricately defined. The production of eagles ended in 1804 to encourage the circulation of half eagles, a plan that failed since the bullion content of any U.S. gold coin exceeded its face. Inevitably, most of the mintage was exported and melted, leaving behind only a few dozen survivors for today's advanced collectors. Census: 13 in 58, 31 finer (7/11).
From The Oliver Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# BFYU, PCGS# 8566)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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