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Gem 1806 Round Top 6 Half Eagle
BD-6, Tied for Finest Certified

1806 $5 Round Top 6, 7x6 Stars MS65 NGC. Breen-6448, BD-6, R.2. Bass-Dannreuther Obverse State d / Reverse State f. There are six die marriages of 1806-dated half eagles, but the BD-3 is differentiated from the other varieties in two important ways. The 6 in the date ends with a knob instead of a point, and the stars are arranged seven left and six right instead of the usual eight by five arrangement. The two main types -- Knobbed or Round Top 6 and Pointed Top 6 -- are Guide Book-listed varieties. It is worth noting that the five Pointed Top 6 varieties (BD-1 through BD-5) range from R.4 or very scarce to R.7, extremely rare, while the Round Top 6 is ranked as R.2, or fairly common. This is unsurprising, given the Guide Book mintages given for the two: 9,676 pieces for the Pointed Top 6 versus 54,417 for the Round Top 6. Even Bass-Dannreuther give the estimated Round Top 6 mintage as 35,000-50,000 coins. Harry W. Bass, Jr. owned six examples of the Round Top 6, in five different die states.
Bass-Dannreuther further note that the 1806 Knobbed 6 is not only the most commonly seen 1806 variant, it is also the most frequently seen among all Draped Bust, Large Eagle five dollar coins. The large total survival, which Bass-Dannreuther estimate at 600-900 coins, makes this an ideal type coin due to the availability of a healthy coterie of high-grade examples.
This wonderfully preserved specimen is boldly struck overall with some localized softness noted on the left peripheral stars and at the juncture of the left (facing) wing and shield. The obverse was produced from heavily striated dies, while a more smooth, satiny texture prevails on the reverse. Adjustment marks on the left side of the eagle's shield contribute to the softness there. Although not particularly scarce by early gold standards in Uncirculated grades, this is the only Gem example we have ever offered (now appearing for the second time) and one of just three certified by both major services combined (8/11).
Ex: FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2005), lot 30441.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# BFXJ, PCGS# 8089)

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Auction Dates
October, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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