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    Description

    1799 BD-7 Eagle, Highly Lustrous MS65
    Splendid Small Obverse Stars Example
    Tied for Finest Known

    1799 $10 Small Obverse Stars, BD-7, R.3, MS65 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State f/d. A comparatively large mintage of 37,449 pieces from 10 die marriages makes the 1799 issue a favorite target for Capped Bust Right, Heraldic Eagle type. Eight of the 10 die varieties have Small Obverse Stars, with the BD-7 variety always a logical choice for the design by virtue of its estimated mintage of 10,000-15,000 pieces. Only the BD-10 Large Obverse Stars variety is seen more frequently. That said, at the Gem Uncirculated level all Capped Bust Right varieties are extremely rare -- regardless of year or type. The 1799 Small Obverse Stars eagles are especially rare, with just two MS65 coins recorded, one at PCGS and this example at NGC (7/18).
    The present coin required some dedicated sleuthing to confirm even a single appearance at public auction. It does not appear in the Heritage archives, nor is it part of our detailed 20+ year history of other auction venues. It was finally plate-matched to lot 1789 in the The Fairfield Collection Auction (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1977), an auction that was quite a sensation when announced. It was touted as the most valuable collection ever to be offered at unrestricted public auction at that time. There, the present coin was described:

    "A blazing jewel of a Gem Brilliant Uncirculated coin! Variety with small stars (Breen-3B). Definitely one of the nicest early tens you will ever have the opportunity to bid on. It is doubtful if another specimen in higher grade could exist! A coin that glistens with golden lustre."



    The actual Breen number for the BD-7 variety is Breen 4-E/B, since the coin is clearly the Irregular Date obverse. Otherwise, the description of this resplendent Gem is spot-on, although no mention is made of the late die state, which is actually a remarriage for the variety. The heavily cracked obverse shows later die characteristics than its use on BD-8, where it was paired with a different reverse. That reverse failed, and the obverse was then reunited with BD-7's original reverse, in part accounting for the large mintage of BD-7 coins.

    Clash marks are visible on both sides, with numerous cracks connecting both the left- and right-hand stars. A heavy radial crack extends from the rim along the upright of E to Liberty's forecurl. Late-forming cracks outside of star 12 with die chipping join light cracks through the date. Rim crumbling is prominent near stars 1, 7, and 8 and below Liberty's bottom curl. On the reverse, a crack exists from the third feather tip of the left (facing) wing to the rim. There are no adjustment marks or Mint-related planchet flaws.

    Even in the late die state, the strike is sharp on all but star 11, which is a bit weak at its inner points. The smoothly frosted fields and devices are remarkably free of abrasions. Mint luster dazzles the eye throughout both sides, with reddish-tan accents over vibrant honey-gold coloration. Recently, the Pogue Collection example (graded MS64+ PCGS) was thought to be tied for the finest-certified of the Small Obverse Stars type, yet this magnificent coin -- housed in its previous-generation MS65 NGC holder pre-dating the Pogue sale -- deserves similar recognition. It is destined for a top-rated collection of early gold eagles. (NGC ID# 2625, Variety PCGS# 45730, Base PCGS# 98562)

    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
    August, 2018
    14th-19th Tuesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,629

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