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Lustrous 1818 BD-2 Half Eagle, MS64

1818 $5 STATESOF MS64 NGC. CAC. Breen-6470, BD-2, R.4. When the legend was placed in reverse dies, engravers would normally start with the E in STATES at 12 o'clock, leaving plenty of space for both words, with an appropriate separation between those words. However, on this die the engraver mistakenly began with the second T of STATES, leaving extra room for STA, but insufficient room for ES OF, and those letters had to be crowded together.
This example has an obverse die crack from star 6, across the cap, headband, hair, and neck, to the final 8, bisecting the die. The crack developed early, and there are only slight signs of clash marks and no evidence of die lapping on the obverse. The reverse die remained in its perfect state throughout the life of this die marriage, and this cracked obverse die state is called terminal in the Dannreuther reference. The reverse is rotated about 45 degrees clockwise, and that rotation is apparently seen on all surviving examples.
Although there is no formal condition census for the early gold varieties, we are aware of just a few comparable pieces. PCGS has certified just one finer coin, an MS65 appearing in Superior's February 1999 sale, lot 3184. We have records of 12 MS64 coins appearing in various auction sales since 1994, and a little over 50 lower Mint State grade coins appearing in the last two decades. OF course, those figures include multiple appearances of a substantially smaller number of actual coins, much as the PCGS and NGC data includes resubmissions.
This near-Gem has brilliant and frosty yellow mint luster with a hint of orange toning on each side. The strike is excellent, and the surfaces show few marks on either side. Census: 7 in 64, 0 finer (11/10).(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 26CY, PCGS# 8121)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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