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1810 $5 Small Date, Tall 5 MS65 PCGS. Breen-6462, BD-1, High R.3....

2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando #1166

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Auction Ended On: Jan 5, 2012
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Orange County Convention Center
North/South Building
9899 Universal Blvd.
Hall SB - South Building
Orlando, FL 32819


Gem 1810 Half Eagle
Small Date, Tall 5, BD-1 Variety
Tied for Finest Certified
1810 $5 Small Date, Tall 5 MS65 PCGS. Breen-6462, BD-1, High R.3. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/c. The 1810 Capped Bust Left half eagles were produced in large numbers, with a reported mintage of 100,287 pieces. Four die varieties are known for the date, differentiated by the size of the numerals in the date and denomination. The coin offered here is an example of the scarce BD-1 variety, with the Small Date and a Tall 5 in the denomination. The numerals in the date are from the same size punches used for the dates in 1808 and 1809, while the 5 in the denomination is from the punch previously employed on the 1808A reverse die. John Reich's "signature" star punch, with the outermost point scalloped, was used on star 13, identifying him as the engraver of this die.
The BD-1 variety undoubtedly accounted for a significant portion of the reported mintage, probably 20,000-30,000 pieces. Die evidence indicates the BD-1 was struck on two occasions, as the early die states show no sign of die rust, while the final die state shows rust lumps on both sides. This coin represents the final Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/c, with die cracks between stars 3-6, the numerals in the date, and from O through the wing and AMER on the reverse. Both sides show evidence of die rust in several locations, and faint clashing is observed above the left wing. The reverse die was used once more, in the 1811 Tall 5 variety, BD-1.
Despite the substantial mintage, the BD-1 is scarce in today's market, with perhaps 150-225 pieces known in all grades. PCGS and NGC have combined to certify a total of 165 examples of this popular issue, with the majority of the coins seen in circulated or lower Mint State levels. High-grade examples are very rare, with PCGS grading only two coins in MS65, with none finer, while NGC has seen no specimens finer than MS64 (11/11).
The 1810 half eagle was a popular date with early collectors and examples began to appear at auction as early as the A.C. Cline Collection (M. Thomas & Sons, 6/1855), lot 184. Numismatists began to notice the different die varieties at an early date as well. William Strobridge noted the small date on the coin in lot 385 of the Seavey Descriptive Catalog in June 1873, and the BD-1 variety was fully described in lot 915 of The Randall Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 6/1885), "1810 No. 3; small date; reverse has large 5; fine, scarce." Later students of die marriages, like Edgar Adams and Waldo Newcomer, were fully aware of the BD-1 variety, but Walter Breen misidentified the obverse, believing it to be the same as the obverse used on the other Small Date variety of 1810, the rare BD-2.
The present coin is a magnificent Gem, tied for finest certified with one other example at PCGS. The design elements are sharply rendered throughout, with complete star centrils and fine definition on the hair strands and eagle's feathers. The yellow and orange-gold surfaces radiate satiny mint luster, with exceptional eye appeal. On close inspection, a few minor contact marks are evident in the fields, but they do little to detract from this coin's terrific appeal. We can find no auction record of an MS65 graded coin of this variety, so early gold specialists should bid accordingly.

From The Harvey B. Jacobson, Jr. Collection.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 25PE, PCGS# 8106)

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