1799 Small Stars Ten, Irregular Date, BD-7
    MS64, Extensively Clashed
    Apparently an Unlisted Die State

    1799 $10 Small Stars Obverse MS64 NGC. CAC. Irregular Date, Breen-6840, Taraszka-19, BD-7, R.3. Bass-Dannreuther Unlisted Die State. "Irregular Date" is an apt name for this variety: The 17 in the date is evenly spaced but canted crazily to the right, with the 7 noticeably higher. The second 9 is higher than the first 9, and it butts up against the underside of the bust of Liberty. On the reverse used in this die pairing, the star near the eagle's beak is well away from it, and one of its points touches the scroll below.
    The mintage of eagles in 1799 was reported as 37,449 pieces, by far the largest to date for the new denomination that was launched in 1795 along with its half eagle counterpart. Ten different pairings are known from the six obverse and six reverse dies employed for the coinage. The BD-1 through BD-8 obverses (1 through 5) show the Small Obverse Stars feature, while the BD-9 and BD-10 share the Obverse 6 with Large Obverse Stars.
    The BD-7 is by far the most available of the eight Small Obverse Stars varieties; Bass-Dannreuther rate it R.3, with 250 to 350 examples surviving. The Irregular Date feature, of course, makes it more popular still. The obverse is shared with BD-8 as well, but that variety is rare, Bass-Dannreuther estimating its survival at only 45 to 55 pieces.
    What is this coin's most interesting feature is the bold clash marks that appear throughout the obverse, a die state apparently unlisted in Bass-Dannreuther. This piece could easily be called the Extra Star Obverse, as the remnants of one of the reverse stars are boldly clashed in front of Liberty's neck. Also clear throughout the obverse fields, on both sides of Liberty and above the date, are extensive clash marks from other elements on the reverse. The reverse is also extensively clashed. The surfaces of this near-Gem are fully struck, bright and lustrous on each side, with light reddish-gold color. There are no mentionable contact or adjustment marks. A fascinating coin that will, no doubt, reward further study by dedicated early gold specialists. For all 1799 varieties, Census: 46 in 64, 8 finer (11/11).(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 2625, 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.

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    January, 2012
    3rd-8th Tuesday-Sunday
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