Exceptionally Rare Mint State 1795 Nine Leaves Ten Dollar1795 $10 9 Leaves MS60 PCGS. B. 4-C, Taraszka-3, R.6. Another example of the absolute rarity contained in the North Shore Collection is this very rare Nine Leaves 1795 eagle. Among ten dollar gold pieces, a 1795 Nine Leaves is just about as rare an issue as there is in the 138-year history of the denomination.
The 1795 Nine Leaves ten is a variety that has taken on near-legendary status over the past thirty years. Common wisdom has it that this variety was not discovered until 1960 when a coin appeared in the "Cicero" Sale (New Netherlands). However, it was apparently a known variety to Waldo Newcomer in 1926 who paid $100 for a VF example, several times the then-current price for a 1795 13 Leaves. The earliest published reference that we could find for the Nine Leaves variety was a coin in Edgar Adams article that he published in the May 1934 issue of "Coin Collector's Journal" entitled "Early United States Gold Coins: Eagles." However, it appears the variety was more or less forgotten until the 1960 sale. Since that time, examples have turned up at auction on average every two to three years. Designed by Robert Scot, Walter Breen states that 116 pieces were struck on March 30, 1796, and an unknown (but presumably small) number had also been struck on March 1, 1796 on Warrant No. 58, which had a total mintage of 1,169 pieces. Robert Hilt believes that the Nine Leaves comprised a portion (he estimated 210 pieces) struck on Warrant No. 66 of June 21, 1796. In either case, it is widely believed that today 10-13 specimens exist in all grades, although 16 pieces have been certified in all grades by NGC and PCGS (undoubtedly, there are multiple resubmissions included in the census numbers).
A ragged V-shaped die crack is located below the leaves and another irregular break is seen through the first T in STATES. These are apparently common to most, if not all Nine Leaves coins, and their presence indicates early failure of this reverse die. Pronounced die cracks, such as seen on this piece, are a rarity among gold coins. Dies were inspected often and quickly condemned when flaws were found. Gold coins were far more of a public relations item for the United States than silver or copper coins were, and care was taken to avoid die breaks or blunders unlike on lower denominations. This piece shows planchet flaking in the fields out from stars 1-5 and also between the denticles and stars 13-14. Light adjustment marks are located in the center of each side, but these have only slight effect on the strength of strike on Liberty and the eagle. The fields are semi-reflective, as often seen on 1795 tens. This piece may most easily be identified by an alloy spot next to star 11, and the unique configuration of planchet flaws in the left obverse field. This is a mid-Condition Census coin and appears to be tied for third or fourth finest known among the handful of high grade survivors.
Ex: Angus Black Collection (New Netherlands, 6/70), lot 483, where it realized $2,400; Auction '90 (Akers session, 8/90), lot 1916, where it brought $70,000; purchased a short while afterward by Michael Keston; Michael Keston Collection (Superior, 1/96), lot 152. (#8552) (Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFYL, PCGS# 8552)
Weight: 17.50 grams
Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper
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