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1797 BD-1 Quarter Eagle, AU53
Always With Obverse Die Crack

1797 $2 1/2 AU53 PCGS. BD-1, R.6. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/a. Following the initial production of 66 quarter eagles that were delivered on September 21, 1796, mintages of this unwanted denomination remained small for many years. Less than 3,000 quarter eagles were coined during the first three years of the denomination, including 432 coins delivered on January 14, 1797, and a mere 427 coins delivered later in 1797, according to Mint records. Today, we believe that the January deliver were 1796 With Stars coins, and the later deliveries were dated 1797.
Only a couple dozen of those 1797 quarter eagles exist today, according to John Dannreuther, who estimates that 20 to 25 pieces are known. Those coins rarely appear in the marketplace, with just seven different specimens appearing in our auctions since the January 1993 beginning of our Permanent Auction Archives.
It is likely that the obverse die cracked during the hardening process before any coins were struck, Mint employees having no opportunity to create a new die. All known 1797 quarter eagles have a prominent die crack at the right side of the obverse, from the Y in LIBERTY to star 8 and down through the field to stars 12 and 13, with one specimen showing a massive cud obliterating the stars to the right.
The reverse die was used to strike the JR-1 1798/7 dimes as well as this quarter eagle variety, apparently after the quarter eagles, as none are known with the later die states that the dimes show.
The present example shows exuberant surfaces that show considerable luster remaining for the grade, with yellow-gold coloration . A few small ticks and abrasions appear scattered about under a loupe, none worthy of note. The strike is a trifle weak in the centers of each side, but all these footnotes are minor compared to the excellent eye appeal of this very rare coin. Population: 4 in 53, 4 finer (6/12).(Registry values: P9) (NGC ID# BFVR, PCGS# 7648)

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Auction Dates
August, 2012
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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