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    1795 Small Eagle Five, MS64 Prooflike
    Rare BD-10 Variety, One of Few Prooflike Coins

    1795 $5 Small Eagle, BD-10, High R.5, MS64 Prooflike NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/b, showing a die crack through the last A in AMERICA to the stem end and slightly beyond. The half eagle was the first gold coin denomination struck for the United States. The 1795 coins are divided into two major types, the Small Eagle and Large Eagle (or Heraldic Eagle) reverses. The mintage of the Small Eagle variety is recorded as 8,707 pieces. The Large Eagle Reverse half eagles dated 1795 are believed to have been struck in 1798, and the Guide Book includes their mintage in the figure for that year.

    The 1795 Small Eagle coins are classified into 12 varieties, BD-1 through BD-12, according to the Bass-Dannreuther reference, with the 1795 Large Eagle variants -- likely struck in 1798 -- comprising the three BD-13 through BD-15 entries. All of the Small Eagle variants, with the sole exception of the R.3 BD-3, are listed as at least R.5 or "rare." with some called R.7+ -- extremely rare, or three to five examples known.

    The BD-10 Small Eagle five shows the obverse die (shared with BD-8, BD-9, and the BD-13 Large Eagle) featuring star 1 behind the lowest curl with one point overlapping it. The date is closely spaced, the 1 just free of the hair. Star 10 touches the rear of the cap. The reverse shows the rightmost (facing) leaf pair with a stubby, short second leaf. There are four berries in the wreath, two inside and two outside, with the inner right berry small and low. The D in UNITED and the second T in STATES show obvious recutting.

    This remarkable near-Gem Prooflike NGC-graded example displays brilliantly mirrored fields and thickly frosted devices amid beautiful orange-gold coloration, a coin of remarkable quality and good preservation. Only one mentionable contact mark, on the right side of the eagle's tail, appears to limit a Gem grade. A couple of small planchet flaws show under the right wing. Light adjustment marks appear in the center obverse, visible with a loupe. The stars and obverse center are fully struck, but some softness shows on the central reverse.

    Although NGC shows several dozen Mint State grading events for all varieties of the 1795 Small Eagle, only six of those coins are graded Prooflike -- one each in MS60 and MS61, two in MS62, this MS64 Prooflike, and one MS65 Prooflike finer (2/15). Even without considering the appreciable rarity of this variety, this piece is among the finest certified for the date, and nearly unimprovable.
    Ex: FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3492; Central States Signature (Heritage, 5/2007), lot 2275.
    From The Music City Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 25ND, Variety PCGS# 519859, Base PCGS# 8066)

    Weight: 8.75 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 Music City Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 25
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,481

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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