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Gem 1806 Half Eagle, BD-6
1806 $5 Round Top 6, 7x6 Stars MS65 PCGS. BD-6, R.2.
Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/d with a light diagonal die crack
through the eagle's neck. BD-6 is the sole die marriage of the
Capped Bust Right type with a 7x6 obverse star arrangement. The
obverse appears unbalanced, with the right-side legend and stars
crowded while the left-side stars leave considerably more open
space. Though the other five die varieties of 1806 half eagles have
a pointed 6, the round top 6 is less unusual, since cents and half
dollars from 1806 also exhibit that style.
7x6 Stars, Round Top 6
Less discussed than either the obverse star count or the date logotype is the incorrect arrow count. The Heraldic Eagle type should feature 13 arrows, but the BD-6 has just 11 arrows, one of which is faint and has only a partial shaft. In defense of early Mint workers, it must have been painstaking work to enter the legends, stars, arrows, berries, and branch stem by hand on every working die.
The present Gem displays consistent wheat-gold color and lacks any noticeable abrasions. Minor mint-made adjustment marks are confined to the reverse at the left border and on the shield. Those areas, along with the left-side stars, are incompletely brought up though the remainder of the strike is crisp.
BD-6 is among the most often encountered early gold varieties, but a majority of examples certified by PCGS are in circulated grades. The third party population falls precipitously above the MS64 level, with only two each at PCGS and NGC attaining MS65 with none finer. The other MS65 PCGS piece appeared in our January 2010 FUN Signature as lot 2158, where it brought $126,500. One of the MS65 NGC examples realized $80,500 as lot 3354 in a September 2009 Ira & Larry Goldberg auction. The other MS65 NGC example last appeared in an April 2012 Heritage auction but has since crossed over to PCGS and is in fact the present coin. Thus between the two leading grading services, as of (2/13), there are only three MS65 pieces with none finer.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# BFXJ, PCGS# 8089)
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