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    Description

    1798/7 BD-1 Ten Dollar, MS61
    Distinctive 9x4 Star Arrangement
    Few Uncirculated Coins Known

    1798/7 $10 9x4 Stars, BD-1, High R.4, MS61 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/b. The Draped Bust Large Eagle ten dollar design was inaugurated in 1797, replacing the Small Eagle motif used on the reverse since 1795. It was only in 1798 that the Mint decided to limit the number of obverse stars to 13, each one representing an original colony (later state). Engraver Robert Scot was obviously still experimenting with the placement of those stars when he created this design, with nine stars left and four stars right of LIBERTY, which sits along the upper-right border rather than directly above the portrait. The star arrangement is unique in the series, and it distinguishes this BD-1 die pair from the only other 1798 Large Eagle ten dollar, which also shows a 7 over 8 overdate but has the stars arranged seven left by six right.

    As a date, the 1798 ranks among the most challenging Large Eagle issues struck between 1797 and 1804. Reportedly 1,742 examples were struck in all, comprising 900 of the 9x4 Stars coins and 842 of the 7x6 Stars coins. The latter are much rarer than the mintage disparity would indicate, suggesting those totals may be skewed. John Dannreuther estimated in 2006 that perhaps 1,200 to 1,600 BD-1 representatives were minted. At the same time, he noted that 80 to 100 pieces were likely extant versus just 20 to 30 examples of the BD-2 die marriage.

    Given the number of examples believed known, we can comfortably say the 1798/7 BD-1 eagle is a rarity in any grade. Bowers wrote in his recent publication, A Guide Book of Gold Eagle Coins (2017): "Typical grades are VF, EF, and AU, with EF being the grade usually seen." He estimates four to six coins survive in Uncirculated condition and adds: "These are exceedingly rare in Mint State, and for all practical purposes are unavailable."

    Indeed, few such coins have been seen by the grading services. NGC counts five submissions in MS61, two in MS62, and a single example in MS63. The PCGS Population Report lists two coins in MS61 and three in MS62, including two in MS62+ (5/18). There can be no doubt that these figures include multiple resubmissions of the same coin and, thus, are inflated.

    This MS61 is a late die state example. A crack travels down from the rim through the L in LIBERTY to the curls, and another crack connects the tops of UNITED. The surfaces are bright yellow-gold with considerable semiprooflikeness in the reverse fields typical of high-grade specimens. A couple of alloy spots appear below star 1, within the upper points of star 12, and on the upper serif of the E in AMERICA. Crisp obverse motifs show a hint of softness above the ear. Detail is similarly strong on the reverse, again with slight central incompleteness on the eagle's neck feathers. Ticks are scattered mainly over the obverse, but none are distracting. Clearly one of the finest examples known of this exceedingly elusive early ten dollar.
    From The Rube Collection. (NGC ID# BFYR, Variety PCGS# 45720, Base PCGS# 8560)

    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 Rube Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    14th-19th Tuesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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