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AU53 1795 Small Eagle Five Dollar
First U.S. Gold Coin Denomination

1795 $5 Small Eagle AU53 PCGS. Breen-6412, BD-4, R.5. The Small Eagle design is appropriate, as the 1795 Small Eagle five dollar gold pieces were the first gold coins struck by the fledgling United States, only two years after its Mint in Philadelphia was founded. In the early years of coinage the Mint reported numbers of pieces coined, regardless of the date they bore; there was no requirement to strike coins only bearing the current year's date. Because of this and the large numbers of dies used--eight obverses and eight reverses--Bass and Dannreuther concluded that the mintage of 1795-dated coins might include more than the 8,707 pieces reported for the calendar year, perhaps as many as 12,000+ including those struck later.
The BD-2, BD-3, and BD-4 all share a common obverse, with each having a different reverse. On the obverse of this variety, the 5 in the date barely touches the lower drapery, and star 1 barely touches the lowest curl. Star 11 lies over the Y and touches star 12.
Breen and others believed this to be the first 1795 Small Eagle variety struck, based on the shared obverse evidence with BD-2 and BD-3. Bass and Dannreuther state that is not the case, however, due to the die crack from the edge through star 12 and into the field usually seen, along with die lapping that has removed the portion of star 1 touching the hair curl.
This AU53 piece only slight evidence of friction on the obverse, although less detail remains on the reverse due to a weaker strike than that on the obverse. Weakness is visible on the eagle's head, with some on the breast and right leg. The surfaces are still semiprooflike, with a slight reddish cast. Bass-Dannreuther estimate that from 60 to 75 examples survive.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ND, PCGS# 8066)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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