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Challenging 1799 BD-5 Five Dollar, AU55

1799 $5 Large Stars Reverse AU55 PCGS. BD-5, High R.5. Although nine die marriages are known for the entire mintage of 1799 half eagles, most price guides combine all of those varieties into one listing. Of course when one considers an "entire" production of less than 14,000 pieces, it is understandable that all of the varieties are grouped as one. Compiling the low and high mintage estimates for each die marriage provided in the Bass-Dannreuther reference, we arrive at a mintage of between 9,300 and 13,600 five dollar gold pieces dated 1799. Early coin specialists, however, are more concerned with the estimated number of survivors than how many were recorded by the Mint, or actually produced. Bases on research by Bass and Dannreuther, only between 185 and 249 1799-dated half eagles are extant in all grades. It is logical, therefore, that few numismatists even attempt to collect this issue by individual die marriage.
An estimated 25 to 35 examples of BD-5 are believed to exist. This variety is easily narrowed to one of two varieties for the year based on the large star punch used on the reverse die. Small stars were used on the other seven reverse dies. The second Large Star variety is BD-8, which is slightly rarer than BD-5. For exact identification purposes of this die marriage, the last 9 in the date is recut and the final A in AMERICA touches both the stem and the eagle's claw. Straw-gold coloration and lightly circulated surfaces define this example. Population: 5 in 55, 9 finer (11/08).(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 25NT, PCGS# 98081)

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Auction Dates
January, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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