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Possible Mint Error BD-2 1804 Quarter Eagle, VF351804 $2 1/2 14 Star Reverse VF35 PCGS. Breen-6119, BD-2, R.4. An intriguing coin that could very well be an extremely rare mint error. On the obverse rim between the 7 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions, we observe two incuse features. Adjacent to star 1 there appears to be the upper portion of an L that is comparable in size and shape to that used in LIBERTY on this coin. Between star 3 and star 4, on the rim, we see the semblance of three star points. A quick overlay confirms that the location of the L in LIBERTY and star 8 would be positioned exactly as the impressions observed on this coin if a brockage had occurred.
We can therefore conclude that this coin was struck over an already minted quarter eagle that was a brockage. Interestingly, the incuse details that do exist on this piece are found in the area that typically exhibits rim weakness on this variety. Since BD-1, the very rare 13 Star Reverse variety that has strong rim details, and BD-2, this coin, share the same obverse die, we can safely assume that the localized weakness at the lower left rim is due to a misaligned die problem. Therefore, the theory is that a flawed coin (a brockage) was fed back into the coining press to be properly struck. Since the gap between the dies was not set correctly, the localized force in the lower left obverse quadrant was not great enough to obliterate the details of the first strike in that area. This metal flow problem was exacerbated by the fact that the reverse adjustment marks, which are directly opposite the area of weakness on the obverse, reduced the amount of metal needed to properly fill the die in that area.
Technically, this is a double-struck coin, since it was indeed coined twice, but it becomes more interesting in that the first strike produced a brockage. Double-struck errors on early gold coins are almost unheard of and, as such, quite valuable. However, we caution the bidder that this is not a confirmed error, although all evidence observed thus far is positive in nature. Close examination is mandatory, as is the drawing of one's own conclusion.
Regardless of the aforementioned anomaly, this coin is a lovely early quarter eagle that saw limited duty in commercial channels. Delicate, straw-gold surfaces and well centered details combine to make this a picture-perfect 1804 two and one half. There are no egregious faults to be found on this coin, other than the previously mentioned adjustment marks, integral to early gold issues, and a tiny piece of debris observed on the eagle's right wing (facing), but it is hardly noticeable without the aid of magnification. BD-2 is by far the more available of the two 1804 varieties, although it is still very scarce. The Bass-Dannreuther reference suggests that only 150 to 200 examples survived the original mintage of approximately 2,500 coins--hardly enough to go around. And collectors face further pressure due to the demand for coins bearing one of numismatics' most popular dates: 1804.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFVT, PCGS# 7652)
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