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    Description

    1798/7 Eagle, 9x4 Stars, BD-1, MS61
    Beautiful Prooflike Fields

    1798/7 $10 9x4 Stars, BD-1, High R.4, MS61 PCGS. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/b. There are only two varieties known for the 1798 eagle, sharing a common reverse die paired with two different overdated obverses. Of the two, BD-1 is slightly more available, though it remains scarce in the absolute sense, with only 80 to 100 coins believed extant in all grades.

    This obverse die (the only occurrence of the 9x4 stars orientation) is seen here in the terminal state of its only use, with extensive die cracks originating from the center and branching out toward the peripheries. The most noticeable break runs from the rim above the L in LIBERTY, through the portrait, to the field near stars 3 and 4. The reverse die is seen here in its first of three uses. It is in an earlier die state than is seen on BD-2, which confirms that BD-1 was the first 1798 variety struck. Its final use, as confirmed by die states, was on the 1797 BD-3 variety, which confirms that the 1798 BD-1 variety was struck before this 1797 issue. The obverse die used for the 1797 BD-3 variety was also employed for the BD-4 variety of that same year, but is seen in a later state on that die pairing. It is confirmed, then, that the 1797 BD-3 and BD-4 varieties were struck after both of the 1798 overdates.

    It was not unusual for the early Mint to use outdated dies well into the following years if they were still serviceable, although this instance of this occurrence is remarkably distinct. It also makes logical sense, considering the fact that both 1798 varieties are overdates, struck with leftover 1797 dies. The later BD-3 and BD-4 1797 varieties were apparently just struck without the dies being put through the overdating procedure. Given the low mintages and survival rates of the 1798 varieties, it is conceivable that those obverses failed early in their usage, which likely prompted the Mint to employ the other serviceable 1797 dies for the remainder of that year's coinage. The proposed emission sequence, as substantiated by die states, is supported by the 1798 Mint Director's Report, which puts the total eagle production for the year at 7,974 coins -- far more than are believed were struck of the two 1798 overdates.

    This 1798/7 BD-1 example is certainly among the finer-known representatives, showing noticeable prooflike mirroring in the yellow-gold fields and sharp central devices, while the overdate feature is bold. Some minor chatter in the obverse fields limits the grade, but there are no obtrusive abrasions present. This is a truly remarkable example of this elusive overdate variety. (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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 793

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