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Description

1818 Half Eagle, BD-1, MS62
Rare 'Normal Dies' Variety With
John Reich's Notched Star Punches

1818 $5 MS62 PCGS. BD-1, R.5. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b (early)/a. The half eagles of 1818 are "unique among early half eagles and, really, all the early gold coins," in the words of John Dannreuther, for the three monogamous (single-use each) die pairings, obverse-reverse marriages 1-A, 2-B, and 3-C, respectively, for the BD-1, BD-2, and BD-3. Although John Reich had left the employ of the Philadelphia Mint the year before, in 1817, someone, presumably Robert Scot, to whom the different obverse head punch is attributed, grabbed Reich's "secret notch" punch for all stars on the obverse of the BD-1. The three obverse dies are all slightly different, but since the reverse dies are all single-use as well, it suffices to describe the BD-1 as the Normal Dies pairing, while BD-2 is the STATESOF variety, and the BD-3 is the 5D over 50 blunder.

This piece is in an interesting die stage, as it shows prominently the die crack on the reverse from the D in the denomination through the bases of AMERICA, yet there is no trace of the other die crack that Bass described as "now strong, from edge, past leaf, to tip of left-most claw, edge of shield, in front of eagle's throat, through head, into field, to ribbon at S." As Bass-Dannreuther estimate this die pairing was used to strike somewhere from 10,000 to 15,000 of the 48,000-plus pieces known for the date, it is unsurprising that more than one die stage might be known.

The surfaces are medium yellow-gold with bold luster present amid a few minor contact marks and thin, wispy straight pinscrapes, some nearly blending in with a few minor planchet adjustment marks in the center obverse. The eye appeal is excellent throughout both sides, with a strong strike. Population: 7 in 62, 5 finer (5/13).(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# BFXV, PCGS# 8119)

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Auction Dates
July, 2013
11th-14th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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