Elusive 1796 BD-1 Eagle, AU551796 $10 AU55 NGC. Breen-6832, Taraszka-6, BD-1, R.4. Only one die pair is known for the 1796 eagles. When Walter Breen wrote his manuscripts in the mid-1960s, he suggested that about 35 to 50 examples of the 1796 eagle survived. More recent research into auction records, along with the appearance of several old collections in the market over the last three decades, has allowed a revised estimate of 100 to 150 examples, or three times Breen's estimate. While it is almost certain that some of the 4,146 eagles recorded as minted in 1796 actually carried the 1795 date, it is similarly known with certainty that some of the 3,615 eagles struck early in 1797 were dated 1796. That knowledge is based on the extensive die state observations made over many years by Harry Bass, and more recently published in book form by John Dannreuther.
High grade examples of this date are quite hard to locate. NGC has only certified 19 Mint State pieces, and many of those are probably resubmissions; PCGS has graded 11 examples in MS60 or better. The finest example certified by either service is MS63. This piece, an earlier die state and therefore a true "1796" eagle, with satiny light yellow-gold surfaces, has faint adjustment marks through the center of the obverse, obliterating some hair detail and actually helping to define other detail. Like most known examples, the obverse has a vertical die crack from the E in LIBERTY to the bottom edge of the drapery.
From The Estate of Jack Lee Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFYM, PCGS# 8554)
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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