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Description

1797 BD-3 Half Eagle, AU53
16 Stars Obverse
The 'Common' 1797 Small Eagle Five

1797 $5 Small Eagle, 16 Stars AU53 NGC. Breen 12-K, Breen-6420, BD-3, R.6. The obverse is perfect, apparently as always, while the reverse has a die crack from the tail feathers to the right (facing) wing, and another from the border at 6 o'clock to the leaves and inside of the right (facing) leg. No other die cracks or defects are noted.
John Dannreuther suggests a surviving population in the range of 20 to 25 coins, and we agree with his assessment. Four die varieties are known among the 1797 Small Eagle coins, and BD-3 is the most plentiful of the four, with a combined survival of no more than 50 pieces.
Most surviving examples of the BD-3 die pair grade XF or AU, with just one or two Mint State pieces known. One of the Mint State pieces appeared in our 2010 ANA sale last August. Harry W. Bass, Jr., had two pieces, both AU, the Smithsonian Institution has two similar pieces, and the Norweb Collection had a pleasing XF coin. The Eliasberg specimen was graded VF30. NGC has certified nine examples of this variety in the AU53 to MS60 grade range and PCGS has certified 13 pieces that grade XF40 to MS61.
This pleasing piece has ample luster with rose-gold surfaces and faint greenish overtones. The surfaces exhibit the usual trivial marks associated with the grade. Light adjustment marks are noted at the center of the obverse, and others are visible at the two upper left stars, with a small planchet defect at that location. Census: 1 in 53, 5 finer (5/11).
Ex: Abner Kreisberg and Jerry Cohen (9/1973), lot 1156; The Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1995), lot 340.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# BFWY, PCGS# 8068)

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Auction Dates
July, 2011
7th-10th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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