1795 BD-14 Half Eagle, MS62
1795 $5 Large Eagle MS62 PCGS. CAC. Breen-6422, BD-14, High
R.6. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/c, with a reverse die crack
through MERIC of AMERICA. The obverse die has a narrow date with
two star points nearly touching the cap, the die being reused from
its earlier marriage with the 1795 Small Eagle variety BD-7. Slight
die lapping or polishing is evident at the eye, a later state than
for BD-7. The mirrored fields also indicate die polishing.
Historic Heraldic Eagle Five
The reverse has the stars crowded to the left with nine of the 16 stars below the first three clouds. It is an early die state with a die crack from the border over the E, through RIC, to the border after the final A. Later states have a full rim break outside that crack. The reverse die appeared twice on the 1795 Heraldic Eagle fives but made no other appearances. Its other 1795 appearance was for the unique BD-13. That piece shows a delicate crack through MERIC, much lighter than here, and lacks the polished or lapped feathers in the left wing that appear on the present coin.
In his early gold reference, Robert W. Miller, Sr., noted the existence of a BD-14 with a perfect reverse die. The existence of this variety in a perfect state would alter the emission sequence, and place BD-14 before and after BD-13. Until confirmation of such a coin, the BD-14 will continue to be listed second.
Most numismatic students believe that the 1795 Heraldic eagle fives were coined in 1797 or 1798, and the latter year seems more likely. The assumption is that the 1798 Small Eagle coins were the first half eagles minted in 1798, with the 1795 and 1797 Heraldic Eagle coins next, and finally the 1798 Heraldic Eagle pieces.
Just over a dozen examples of this High R.6 variety are known, mostly in higher circulated grades. The finest this cataloger has seen is an MS64 specimen from the James A. Stack Collection. The present specimen is second finest, and all others, including the near-Mint Norweb specimen, grade XF or AU.
This delightful Mint State example has brilliant greenish yellow-gold surfaces with fully reflective fields and satiny devices. Both sides show a few lint marks and some minor hairlines, including a thin scratch in the right obverse field. If graded separately, the reverse appears to be a point finer than the obverse. Population: 8 in 62, 3 finer (11/11).
Ex: William H. Woodin; Waldo C. Newcomer; Col. E.H.R. Green (via B. Max Mehl); King Farouk (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 226; later, A Gentleman's Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 6/2005), lot 1010.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 25NK, PCGS# 8075)
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