1797 Capped Bust Right Eagle, AU58+
1797 $10 Large Eagle AU58+ PCGS. BD-2, High R.4.
Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b. This variety marks the beginning of
the Heraldic Eagle design type, part of a transitional year mintage
that began with coinage of the earlier Small Eagle reverse design.
The 1797 Heraldic Eagle ten claims a mintage of 10,940 pieces split
between three die varieties. All 1797 Heraldic Eagle tens are from
a single obverse die that has a prominent double die crack from the
border through the final 7 to the bust. That crack is heavy below
the 7 on this example, branches into two parallel cracks through
the 7, and continues as a delicate single crack to the drapery.
Heraldic Eagle Reverse
The reverse of this coin features an eagle with a long thin neck, identifying the very scarce BD-2 variety. The BD-2 variety has a surviving population of 80-100 examples in all grades and probably accounted for 3,500-5,000 pieces of the reported mintage. This was the only use of this reverse die. When W. Elliot Woodward cataloged an example of the 1797 Heraldic Eagle ten in lot 846 of the Randall Collection (Woodward, 7/1885), he noted:
"1797 No. 1; reverse, large eagle; obverse with 16 large stars; proof."
The following lot was another 1797 which he called variety No. 2, distinguished by the "small stars" on the obverse. Although we realize today that the same obverse was used on all three varieties of this date and type, Harry Bass noted that the obverse stars on the other two varieties have shortened points, due to lapping. This probably accounts for Woodward's large and small stars designation on the two varieties, with the large stars corresponding to BD-2. Recent auction sales of the BD-2 include the AU58 NGC coin in lot 5177 of the FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011) that realized $40,250.
A lovely and lustrous yellow-gold specimen, this example shows prooflike reflectivity in sheltered areas. The obverse exhibits the usual shallow strike characteristic of this die, while the reverse has a bold strike. Faint hairlines are hidden beneath deeper honey-gold toning. Eye appeal is quite strong for the grade. Population: 28 in 58 (1 in 58+), 38 finer (3/14).
Ex: Central States Signature (4/2013), lot 4542; Orlando Signature (7/2013), lot 3381.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 25ZY, PCGS# 8559)
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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