AU 1795 Small Eagle Ten Dollar, BD-1
1795 $10 13 Leaves AU50 PCGS. CAC. Breen-6830, Taraszka-1, BD-1,
High R.3. Bass-Dannreuther Die State Obverse a / Reverse a. It
is always an interesting pursuit to seek the origins of coinage
designs. As a small part of a much larger article in Coin
World, March 1, 1999, Richard Giedroyc wrote of the reverse
13 Leaves Reverse, Early Die State
"The Small Eagle reverse appearing on the coins of 1795 to 1797 is believed to have been adapted from a first century B.C. Roman onyx cameo in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The position of the eagle is different on the museum cameo, although the palm branch and circular wreath accompanying the eagle on the U.S. coin is strikingly similar to the design on the cameo."
Only 5,583 pieces were struck of this design type. But then, there was little demand for the ten dollar denomination in the channels of commerce. In 1795 Philadelphia, the average laborer earned ten dollars for two weeks' wages for a six-day work week. As a result, there was minimal need for such a high-denomination gold coin.
This particular coin is pleasing overall with just the slightest friction over the high points. The strike details are well-defined and show strong detailing on Liberty's hair and the eagle's wings. There are no mentionable or distracting abrasions, and each side shows a strong reddish accent of patina around the devices with the remainder of the coin retaining its original greenish-gold. This is a splendid, high-grade example of this popular, first-year design type. As a superlative example of this early type in high circulated grade, this piece may fill the want list of many a collector, providing many of the virtues of a Mint State piece at a relatively more affordable price point.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ZU, PCGS# 8551)
Weight: 17.50 grams
Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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