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Description

1799 BD-4 Half Eagle, MS62
Rare Variety
Probably the Finest Known

1799 $5 Small Stars Reverse MS62 NGC. Breen-6435, BD-4, R.7. Both dies are perfect with no lapping, clash marks, or die cracks, apparently as always, and the reflective fields suggest an early strike from newly prepared dies. In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, A Study of Die States 1795-1834, John Dannreuther described two die states, perfect or with reverse clash marks. He further suggested that a terminal die state with later reverse die damage should exist. Indeed such a coin does exist, as an example of BD-4 with two retained cuds on the reverse appeared as lot 2260 in the Bowers and Merena March 2003 auction.
Only 10 to 12 examples of this variety are known, according to Dannreuther, although the cataloger believes that fewer pieces actually exist, finding just eight auction records over the past 30 years, including an earlier appearance of the present specimen. Since the 1993 beginning of our Permanent Auction Archives, we have offered 46 1799 half eagles of all varieties and grades, and this is the first appearance of BD-4 in any of our sales.
When this piece was handled in 1989, at the same time that the first Bass gold sale was being prepared, and with both Bass specimens available for side-by-side study, the present cataloger wrote: "This is apparently a very rare variety with most examples well circulated. In fact, this example, which is nicer than either in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, may be finest known for the die marriage."
The possible status as finest known of the variety remains unchanged. Minor surface abrasions are confined to the open areas of the obverse and reverse fields. The brilliant green-gold surfaces and reflective fields of this lovely specimen host delicate splashes of pale orange toning. The present offering represents an incredible opportunity for the advanced early half eagle specialist.
Ex: Walter H. Childs Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 689.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 25NT, PCGS# 8081)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
July, 2012
12th-15th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 2,130

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