1795 Capped Bust Right Half Eagle, MS62
1795 $5 Large Eagle MS62 PCGS. BD-15, High R.5.
Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/c. In the early days of the U.S. Mint
it was common practice to preserve coinage dies that were still fit
for service at the end of the year for use in future years. Three
1795-dated obverse dies were preserved in this manner, and combined
with two Heraldic Eagle reverse dies to produce three die varieties
of 1795 Heraldic Eagle half eagles. These coins were probably
actually struck in 1797 or 1798. There were 12 varieties of 1795
Small Eagle half eagles produced in 1795, so the Heraldic Eagle
varieties are listed as BD-13, BD-14, and BD-15 in the
Bass-Dannreuther series reference.
Rare Large Eagle Type, BD-15
Only Three Finer Coins at PCGS
The present coin is an example of the BD-15 variety, with a low 9 in the date, and the foot of the first A in AMERICA atop the fourth wing feather on the reverse. The BD-15 is seen more often than the other two Heraldic Eagle varieties, but it is still quite rare, with a surviving population of 30-35 examples in all grades. There are no recorded mintage figures for the issue, but the BD-15 probably had a production total of 500-1,000 pieces.
The 1795 Heraldic Eagle half eagle has always been highly regarded by numismatists, and early catalogers noticed the varieties by the early 1860s. An example in the Sixth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 3/1865) was described as:
"1795 With the large eagle, rev. of 1798; in splendid uncirculated condition; of the highest rarity."
This early auction citation might well be an early appearance of the coin offered here, as few high-quality specimens are known. The lot realized $37.50 to George Seavey, a strong price at the time. The popularity of the 1795 Large Eagle five has steadily increased over the years.. Recent auction sales include the impressive MS62 PCGS specimen in lot 4839 of the FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2012), which realized $149,500.
This attractive MS62 specimen was struck from a late state of the dies, with a number of die cracks evident on both sides. The cud above TE of STATES had not yet formed when this piece was struck, however. The design elements are well-detailed, showing just a touch of softness on the eagle's head and Liberty's hair. The lightly marked greenish-gold surfaces display prooflike reflectivity in many areas. We expect intense competition from early gold specialists when this lot is called. Population: 8 in 62, 3 finer (11/12).
From The Dr. James Olsen Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 25NK, PCGS# 8075)
View all of [The Dr. James Olsen Collection ]
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