1796/5 $5 Small Eagle AU58 PCGS. Breen-6418, BD-1, High R.4....
Reflective 1796/5 BD-1 Half Eagle, AU581796/5 $5 Small Eagle AU58 PCGS. Breen-6418, BD-1, High R.4. Only one die pair is known for the 1796 half eagles, from an overdated obverse die that utilized a previously unused 1795 obverse. The reverse was carried over from 1795 BD-12. No die defects are evident on the obverse. The reverse appears to be in the same lapped die state as 1795 BD-12, even though John Dannreuther claims in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, A Study of Die States 1795-1834 that the 1795 reverse shows no clashing, lapping, or cracks.
The exact number of half eagles bearing the 1796/5 overdate is unknown. Dannreuther suggests an existing population of 80 to 100 examples in all grades. His estimate is substantially higher than Walter Breen's 1966 estimate of R.5 in Early United States Half Eagles 1795-1838. Breen failed to identify his rarity scale in that reference, so the Sheldon scale is assumed. The R.5 rating suggests 31 to 75 examples are known. Our rarity opinion agrees with Dannreuther.
Quite a number of AU and Mint State pieces have appeared at auction in recent years, although we have not yet constructed a Census listing of these coins. We believe this piece ranks among the top dozen known examples.
Reflective surfaces exhibit green-gold color with lovely orange highlights. The surfaces are smooth and attractive, with only a few minor blemishes. Overall this is an exceptional example for the grade that would easily be the highlight of a date or variety collection of early gold. Population: 3 in 58, 4 finer (6/10).(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 25NE, PCGS# 8067)
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