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Description

Extremely Rare 1802/1 BD-3 Half Eagle, AU53

1802/1 $5 AU53 NGC. Breen-6440, BD-3, High R.7. Clearly the rarest of all known 1802/1 half eagle varieties, with about five examples known today. Harry Bass had just one example that is now on display at the ANA Museum in Colorado. The variety was first discovered by collector Marvin Taichert in the early 1960s, and he owned that coin until it was sold a few years ago. Waldo Newcomer also owned a coin that may be this variety but remains unlocated. This cataloger cherrypicked an example of BD-3 about 10 years ago, and that specimen is part of an Indiana specialist's collection. A fifth example was offered in our Central States sale in April. That coin, PCGS certified AU55, realized $27,600. Finally, this example is another new discovery, the second example this cataloger has discovered! With this specimen, there are six coins known, if the Newcomer example is different than any of the others. Otherwise, there are just five known pieces.
An attractive AU example with faint hairlines that limit the grade. The surfaces have pleasing yellow color with faint green tendencies. There is a small oblong die chip over star 10 on the reverse, and that feature instantly identifies the variety. As it is clearly visible without magnification, it seems that more of these would be identified if they existed. We expect the population will remain small in the future.
The obverse has an extremely small rim break that joins two dentils over star 7. This feature is evident on the present coin, the Dannreuther plate coin, and the piece we sold in April. An almost identical characteristic is visible on the Dannreuther plate coins for his BD-1, BD-2, and BD-5 varieties, but is not present on his BD-4 variety. That means that BD-4 was the first 1802/1 half eagle coined from the centered overdate obverse. It was followed by the others, including this BD-3 variety. As much as we all study these numismatic rarities, there is still more to learn. An impressive opportunity for the advanced specialist.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 25NX, PCGS# 8083)

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Auction Dates
May-Jun, 2008
28th-2nd
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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