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    1795 Capped Bust Right Half Eagle, AU58
    First Year of United States Gold Coinage
    Small Eagle, BD-10 Variety

    1795 $5 Small Eagle, BD-10, R.5, AU58 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/b. According to Mint records, 8,707 half eagles were struck in 1795, the first year the United States produced gold coinage. It seems virtually certain that some 1795-dated coins were struck in later years, as well, as the hard-pressed Mint continued to use dies until they failed in those early times, regardless of the Calender year. A total of 12 die varieties have been identified that employ the Capped Bust Right obverse design and the Small Eagle reverse, and three more varieties are known with the Large Eagle reverse design. The Large Eagle coins were probably struck in 1797 or 1798. The coin offered here represents the BD-10 variety, with one point of star 10 pointed to the cap and the second T in STATES recut at the bottom. The BD-10 variety is very scarce in absolute terms, with a surviving population of 40-50 specimens in all grades. BD-10 coins probably accounted for about 750-1,250 pieces of the reported mintage. The obverse die was used previously to strike the BD-8 and BD-9 varieties of this date, but this was the only use of the reverse die.

    Perhaps because of its first-year status, early numismatists prized the 1795 half eagle, even before the hobby of coin collecting became widespread in this country. The date began to appear at auction as early as lot 170 of the A.C. Kline Sale (Moses Thomas & Sons, 6/1855), where an example realized $6.75. Of course, prices have risen astronomically since 1855, and the record price realized for a 1795 half eagle is $646,250, brought by the MS65 PCGS specimen in the D. Brent Pogue Collection when it sold in September of 2015.

    The present coin is an attractive near-Mint example, with strongly impressed design elements and lightly abraded antique-gold surfaces. The obverse shows some loss of detail in the letters, stars and hair, due to lapping, but just a trace of actual wear is evident. There are some faint planchet adjustment marks in several areas, and a lintmark in the field between the bust and star 12. A thin die crack shows on the reverse, from the rim to the foot of the last A in AMERICA. The overall presentation is quite appealing.

    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Oct-Nov, 2016
    31st-2nd Monday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,086

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