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    1795 Capped Bust Right Eagle, AU55
    Important First-Year Guide Book Issue
    Rare 9 Leaves, BD-3 Variety

    1795 $10 9 Leaves, BD-3, R.6, AU55 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State d/b. The Philadelphia Mint struck gold coins for the first time in 1795, when a reported mintage of 5,583 Capped Bust Right eagles was accomplished. It is likely that the 1795-dated dies continued to be used in the early part of 1796, however, so the surviving population for the date is somewhat larger than the modest production total would suggest.

    Five die varieties are known for the date, with this coin representing the famous BD-3 variety, with nine leaves in the palm frond on the reverse. The "Nine Leaves" variety is the rarest and most famous of all the Small Eagle ten dollar varieties, with a surviving population of 18-22 examples, according to PCGS CoinFacts. John Dannreuther believes the BD-3 accounted for 210-500 examples of the original mintage for the date. The obverse die was used previously to strike the BD-2 variety of this date, and used again to produce the final BD-5 variety. The reverse die shows several defects on all known specimens, including a die break at the tip of the second leaf, a crack from the edge through the top of the first T in STATES, and another faint crack at the lower right of the first A in AMERICA. These defects may have been caused by die buckling during the preparation of the dies, before the coins were struck. It seems likely that the reverse failed quickly, accounting for the rarity of the BD-3 today.
    Although the "Nine Leaves" reverse is a celebrated issue today, it was unknown to early students of the series. John Colvin Randall identified four varieties of 1795-dated eagles by 1885, but he did not mention the "Nine Leaves" reverse in the catalog of his collection when it was sold by W. Elliot Woodward in June of 1885. Likewise, Silas Wodell exhibited three varieties of the 1795 eagle at the 1914 ANS Exhibition, but the BD-3 variety was not represented. The first numismatist to publish a description of the variety was Edgar Adams, in his article in the May 1934 edition of The Coin Collector's Journal:

    "5-Same as No. 1. Rev. End of stem does not touch or come very close to 'A'. End of one leaf touches center of 'U'. Nine distinct leaves in branch. There is a die defect at the end of the second leaf. Clapp."

    Unfortunately, Adams misremembered the owner of the discovery coin, as there was no example of the BD-3 listed in the Clapp notebook. The coin Adams referred to was almost certainly the example in the fabulous collection of Waldo Newcomer, who purchased his example from Adam's friend and associate William Woodin in 1926. The BD-3 received little publicity before about 1980, and it was seldom attributed in its infrequent auction appearances before the turn of the Millenium.

    The present coin traces its history only back to December of 2003, when it appeared as lot 979 of the Classics Sale, by American Numismatic Rarities. This coin is an attractive AU55 example that exhibits well-detailed design elements, with just a trace of wear on the high points. Like most BD-3 examples seen, some small planchet flaws are evident in the lower left obverse field. Walter Breen believed these voids were caused by foreign matter adhering to the dies. The pleasing antique-gold surfaces show the expected number of minor abrasions for the grade, including a hair-thin scratch below the eagle's wing to the R in AMERICA. Both sides retain significant amounts of original mint luster and eye appeal is quite strong for this early gold rarity.
    Ex: Classics Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 12/2003), lot 979.
    From The Admiral Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (Variety PCGS# 45714, Base PCGS# 8552)

    Weight: 17.50 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Admiral Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    22nd-27th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 35
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,411

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