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1806/5 Quarter Eagle, AU58
Rare 7x6 Stars Variety, BD-2
Bright Yellow, Semiprooflike Fields

1806/5 $2 1/2 7x6 Stars AU58 NGC. BD-2, High R.5. The year 1806 was the penultimate date for the Capped Bust Right type, which was retired in favor of John Reich's Capped Bust Left design after the 1807 coinage. Two die varieties are known for the date, both from overdated dies. The present coin is a representative of the less available BD-2 variety, characterized by the 7x6 arrangement of the obverse stars. From a tiny original mintage of 480 coins, the BD-2 die marriage is quite rare today. Experts estimate only 25-35 examples are known in all grades. In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, John Dannreuther calls the issue "one of the rarest of the early quarter eagles," with only the 1796 No Stars BD-1, 1797 BD-1, and the 1804 13 Star Reverse quarter eagles more difficult to locate. Considering both leading grading services, a total of eight examples have been certified in AU58, with eight finer (4/12).
In their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth explain the unusual circumstances of the 1806/5 striking:

"The 1806/5 overdate represents one of the rare instances when a die that had already been used to strike coins in one year was softened, overdated, rehardened, and then used to strike even more coins. Most other overdates occur on unused dies from previous years."

Perhaps the overdated obverse die failed quickly, accounting for the limited mintage.
The present coin is sharply struck, with bright, semiprooflike fields. Only slight, even wear is noted on the highest points of the design. A prominent die crack is visible through the top of LI in LIBERTY and a few adjustment marks are evident on the reverse center.(Registry values: P9) (NGC ID# BFVX, PCGS# 7655)

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Auction Dates
May-Jun, 2012
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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