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1795 Small Eagle Five, BD-6, R.5
S Over D Reverse, MS62
Amazingly Sharp Strike

1795 $5 Small Eagle MS62 PCGS. CAC. Breen-6414, BD-6, R.5. S/D in STATES. Bass-Dannreuther Die State Obverse b / Reverse c. The Guide Book makes this curious notation, one that we think makes it (or them) a Guide Book variety: "One variety has the final S in STATES punched over an erroneous D." Actually, two of the Bass-Dannreuther 12 listed varieties for the 1795 Small Eagle have the engraver's blunder, the BD-6 and the BD-5, but the BD-6 is the "final use of the blundered reverse die and is much more often seen than the first use of this odd die." The obverse die that distinguishes the BD-6 from the rarer (R.7) BD-5 shows the 5 in the date lying halfway over the drapery, and the tip of the 1 is free of the hair curl.
According to the Bass-Dannreuther reference, "Harry Bass obtained three examples of this rare and popular variety with only a couple of these showing up in auction each year."
The reverse die in particular is a comedy of errors, although describing them seems superfluous, as studying the reverse in closeup will abundantly answer "what's wrong with this photo?" The BD authors note:

"This curious reverse die, as noted under the BD-5 variety, possibly was the result of either alcohol or a late night party, as the die sinker made numerous slips while preparing this reverse. The spikes from the dentils are also seen on this obverse die as well as the previous obverse die, although they are not as plentiful as seen on the reverse."

The present MS62 PCGS example boasts an amazingly sharp strike that has produced full breast feathers and full hair detail. The surfaces are semiprooflike and even olive-gold, accented by reddish tinges. The luster is a trifle subdued, possibly precluding an even finer grade. Light horizontal planchet adjustment marks appear in the center obverse. The only mentionable signs of contact are a series of shallow pricks between the eagle's head and the rim between F and A, as well as a minor scratch below the eagle's right (facing) wing. For all 1795 Small Eagle varieties, Population: 22 in 62, 13 finer (11/11). PCGS has certified two examples of the S/D in MS63.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ND, PCGS# 8066)

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Auction Dates
January, 2012
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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