1795 $5 Small Eagle AU55 NGC....
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|Auction Ended On:||Feb 6, 2009|
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Long Beach, CA
The obverse of this variant is shared with two other Bass-Dannreuther varieties, namely BD-2 and BD-3, on which it saw earlier use. Thus the earliest die state is die state c, the state of the latest BD-3. In this slightly later die state a crack runs from the rim through star 12 and slightly into the field, but star 1 just barely touches the lowest curl; later in this die state lapping separates the two. (Bass-Dannreuther note that, since this is the last use of this obverse, some pieces [which may have been melted hundreds of years ago] should exist in the terminal die state, presumably showing shattering of the die.)
The reverse of this die marriage, BD Reverse C, is unique to this variety and can be easily distinguished not only by the diagnostics above, but because there are only three berries on the small wreath that the eagle holds in its beak--two outside and one inside.
Bass-Dannreuther estimate that 60 to 75 specimens of this variety exist, making the present coin an attractive potential acquisition for the variety or type collector. From the 30,000-foot perspective, all of the 1795 Small Eagles are important as the first gold coins struck by the U.S. Mint, even if this variety cannot possibly be the absolutely first of that important beginning.
The charming surfaces of this Choice AU example show lovely orange-gold coloration, with a few minor surface ticks consistent with the grade. A small patch of adjustment marks appears from above stars 14 and 15 to below the tip of the bust. Much luster remains, and the overall impression of one of high quality, despite some striking softness on the eagle's head and neck that is usual for the variety.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ND, PCGS# 8066)
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