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Choice Mint State 1795 Small Eagle Half Eagle, BD-3

1795 $5 Small Eagle MS64 PCGS. B. 1-B, Breen-6412, Bass-3033, BD-3, High R.3. This is easily the most plentiful of all 1795 Small Eagle varieties, and it is the most commonly seen die combination in Mint State grades. The collector or numismatist must always remember that the terms common or plentiful are relevant only to the series under discussion, and have no relationship to similar terms in other series. For example, less than 1,000 1795 Small Eagle half eagles remain in existence, with possibly one-third of the total struck from this single die pair. By comparison, a Morgan dollar or a Lincoln cent, or a coin from one of many other series, would be considered a major rarity if the total population was less than 1,000 coins. It is a basic economic matter of supply and demand. The 1795 Small Eagle half eagle has a rather limited supply, but an equally limited demand.
This piece has a short die crack from the obverse border to star 12. The reverse is nearly perfect with only a short engraving line to the top of E and a tiny crack to the right top of T. Both sides have prominent center dots that are seldom visible as they are each positioned on high points of the design and are usually susceptible to slight wear. This is the second of three die uses for this obverse. The first use (B. 1-C, BD-2) has no trace of the obverse crack at star 12 and the third use (B. 1-A, BD-4) has the crack extending through star 12, into the field. Careful study of all die states for the 1795 Small Eagle coinage led John Dannreuther to the conclusion that Walter Breen's emission sequence was incorrect. The order of production for the first four 1795 half eagle varieties was B. 2-C, 1-C, 1-B, and 1-A, using Breen's numbering scheme.
Both sides of this Choice Mint State example have remarkable surfaces for the grade, with satiny greenish yellow-gold luster and a sharp strike. All design elements on each side are fully defined without any apparent weakness. While the grade is limited by a few faint hairlines, the overall appearance is spectacular. A small blemish, apparently present when this example was struck, appears at eye level in the right obverse field. An even smaller abrasion is present in the left obverse field. Hopefully, these will be useful to the pedigree collector. Among all 1795 Small Eagle half eagles certified by PCGS, this coin lags behind just two others for finest certified, including the entire population of all 12 varieties.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ND, PCGS# 8066)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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