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Description

Rare 1797 Small Eagle Five, AU55
16 Stars, BD-3 Variety
Only Four Finer Coins at NGC

1797 $5 Small Eagle, 16 Stars AU55 NGC. BD-3, R.6. Bass-Dannreuther Obverse Die State a, Reverse Die State c. A very rare coin that Bass-Dannreuther estimates exists only to the extent of 20-25 pieces in all grades, this is nonetheless the most "common" of the three known 1797 Small Eagle varieties. On the obverse star 1 pierces the lowest curl, and the 1 in the date also touches that curl. The last 7 in the date touches the bottom of the bust. Star 16 virtually touches the tip of the bust, and all of the crowded stars on both the left and right sides of the obverse touch or nearly so. This so-called "common" variety represents the first of three uses of this obverse die, two of which are unique. The second pairing is with the unique Reed-Parmelee BD-4 1797 Small Eagle coin, and the third is the unique BD-5 1797 Large Eagle, 16 Star Obverse coin, now in the Smithsonian, previously owned by Waldo Newcomer, Colonel Green, and King Farouk.
On the reverse of this specimen, the two wreath ends match at their ends, and there are two berries, both outside of the wreath. Several prominent die cracks appear: one from the rim between IT through the eagle's left wing; one from the lower rim through the eagle's perch to his right (facing) leg; one connecting the right wing with the tail feathers; and a fourth from the tail feathers through the last A in AMERICA to the rim. Bass-Dannreuther estimates that about 1,000 to 1,500 coins were minted with this reverse in its single use, which is completely explainable by die failure as the various cracks progressed to the terminal state. This coin shows much luster clinging to the orange-gold surfaces. Under a loupe a couple of nicks and scratches show on Liberty's bust and neck, and a pinscratch run across the eagle's breast. While those scrapes and abrasions require mentioning, they will certainly fail to dampen enthusiasm for this exceedingly rare and beautiful coin from the early days of U.S. numismatics. Census: 1 in 55, 4 finer (6/12).
From The Harvey Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 25NF, PCGS# 8068)

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Auction Dates
August, 2012
2nd-5th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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