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1834 Capped Head, Crosslet 4 Five Dollar, MS63
BD-2, The Only Collectible Crosslet 4 Variety

1834 $5 Capped Head, Crosslet 4 MS63 NGC. Breen-6500, BD-2, R.5. Bass-Dannreuther Obverse State b / Reverse State b. The year 1834 is one of those signal years in Mint history when two prominent coin designs share a single year. Late 1834 saw the Classic Head gold designs debut on the quarter eagle and half eagle denominations, but not before Capped Head quarter eagles (4,000 coins) and half eagles (50,141 coins) had been struck. (Eagles had not been made since 1804 and would not be produced again until 1838, with the new Liberty Head design.) Other such dual-year coin series include the half eagles of 1807 (Capped Bust Right and Capped Bust Left) and 1908 (Liberty Head and Indian Head).
Although series specialists realize its rarity, more general collectors may give short shrift to this issue. The fact remains, however, that the 1834 Capped Head fives, with their greater gold content, are many times rarer than the 1834 Classic Head pieces that followed. The 1834 Capped Head coins were mercilessly melted (although for a shorter time), as were all early gold coins whose gold content exceeded their face value.
The quarter eagle mintage of 1834, as usual for the denomination, was pretty much an afterthought, but the generous mintage of Capped Head half eagles came in two Guide Book-listed varieties, the Plain 4 and Crosslet 4. Two die marriages each exist for the Plain 4 (BD-1 and BD-3) and the Crosslet 4 (BD-2 and BD-4).
The other Crosslet 4 variety, BD-4, is a unique variety that collector extraordinaire Harry W. Bass, Jr. had in his core collection -- making the BD-2 the only available Crosslet 4 die marriage, while still quite rare at R.5. Akers writes that the Crosslet 4 "is more rare than the 1830 Small 5D, 1831 Large 5D, 1833 or 1834 Plain 4, and is of almost the same rarity as the 1830 Large 5D." Bass-Dannreuther estimate that no more than 45-55 pieces survive in all grades.
On the BD-2, more than half of the 4 is centered under an incomplete hair curl, and the 1 is equidistant from the bust and the dentilation. On the reverse, the denomination 5D is centered between the fletchings and the dentils, with the lower arrow tip aligned with the right flag tip of the 5.
The present Select Mint State example is nonetheless among the few finest survivors of the variety, and as such is a conditional as well as absolute rarity. PCGS reports two pieces in MS63, and this MS63 NGC specimen is the only Crosslet 4 so certified, with three submissions finer (9/11). The surfaces are well-struck in the center and overall, even though the peripheral obverse stars are a bit flat. Semiprooflike surfaces display attractive light greenish-gold color, and there are no adjustment marks visible on either side. On the obverse a die crack passes from star 9 to star 13, with a second crack running through stars 4-6. The reverse exhibits a die crack through MERICA to the D in the denomination.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 25RP, PCGS# 8161)

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Auction Dates
October, 2011
13th-16th Thursday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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