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    1798/7 Eagle, BD-2, AU58
    Rare and Famous 7x6 Stars Variety
    Only 20 to 30 Pieces Believed Known, Ex: Norweb

    1798/7 $10 7x6 Stars, BD-2, Low R.6, AU58 PCGS. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b. The entirety of the 1798-dated eagle coinage was accomplished with two leftover 1797 obverse dies (overdated 1798/7) paired to a common reverse which was also employed for the 1797 BD-3 issue. Per die state evidence, both of the 1798/7 overdates were struck prior to the 1797 BD-3 variety, which draws the conclusion that some of the production of 1798 was actually dated 1797. Traditionally, the mintage figures for the two 1798/7 varieties have been, as suggested by delivery receipts, 900 coins for BD-1 and 842 coins for BD-2, but this may not be perfectly accurate. Writing in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, John Dannreuther states:

    "... we have two 1797 varieties seemingly included with the reported coins struck and delivered in 1798. Trying to figure out the mintages for the dates is quite difficult; determining how many were struck for each variety requires a great deal more guesswork ..."

    Dannreuther suggests the mintage of BD-1 is more likely in the 1,200 to 1,600-coin range, and that that of BD-2 is considerably lower, likely in the 300 to 842-coin range. Thus, the remainder of the 7,974 eagles reflected in the Mint Director's annual report for 1798, communicated to Congress on January 31, 1799, were evidently coined with 1797-dated dies and likely comprise at least the majority of the BD-3 and BD-4 varieties of that issue.

    The 1798/7 BD-2 variety has long been regarded as a famous and extremely desirable rarity, even in the context of Draped Bust eagles. The cataloger of the Norweb catalog stated:

    "This variety is a classic rarity and indeed is the most elusive major variety among early eagles. David Akers located only 23 auction appearances over a long span of years, a figure which undoubtedly includes duplicate offerings of the same coin. Walter Breen suggests that just 14 or 15 specimens exist."

    Dannreuther reasons that "14 or 15 specimens" is slightly exaggerated, and offers the more realistic calculation that the true number of known survivors is likely in the 20 to 30-coin range -- still a paltry number. Nonetheless, the frequency of auction appearances is undeniably low, and contributes to the general consensus that this issue is, per Dannreuther's terminology, "quite rare and immensely popular."

    The certified population figures include just nine coins at PCGS and four others at NGC. Of those, the present piece is one of only two examples in AU58 (both PCGS coins), with a combined PCGS and NGC total of four Mint State coins finer (2/15). This piece is in a very early stage of the later die state; the crack from the rim through the upright of the E in LIBERTY is present and there is a small break in the cap, but none of the other die cracks listed in the Bass-Dannreuther reference are discernable. Areas of semiprooflike mirroring dominate the recesses amid pleasant green-gold patina that yields pale honey-gold overtones on the high points of the devices. The strike is bold, with no evidence of adjustment marks or detracting post-mint abrasions -- we note just light friction in the fields and on the highest points of the motifs that precludes a Mint State designation.

    The exceptional quality of this coin in comparison to other examples of the variety has long been recognized. The cataloger of the 1954 Davis-Graves catalog considered it "one of the finest known of this Excessively rare variety," and the 1988 Norweb catalog heralded it as "A very sharp and attractive example with traces of prooflike surface ..." This is the first problem-free BD-2 representative we have offered since our 2005 FUN Signature sale, when an AU55 NGC example garnered $161,000. Much time has pasted since then, and the present piece is notably superior to that coin, not only in technical grade, but also in regards to eye appeal. It may be another 10 years before a coin of comparable quality is made available, which fully emphasizes the great importance of the current offering. Housed in a green label holder.
    Ex: Davis-Graves Collection (Stack's, 4/1954), lot 910, which realized $850.00; Norweb Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 3/1988), lot 2138.
    From The New Orleans Collection. (Variety PCGS# 45721, Base PCGS# 8561)

    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 New Orleans Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 25
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,528

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