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    1795 Small Eagle Five, BD-8, MS62
    Attractive and Rare

    1795 $5 Small Eagle, BD-8, High R.5, MS62 PCGS. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a/a, the prime state for these dies. The BD-8 variety is easily attributed by the obverse showing one star pointing horizontally and touching the lowest curl, and star 10 virtually touching the cap. The reverse wreath shows two berries on the right side and one high on the outside left.

    Among the dozen different die pairings for the 1795 Small Eagle fives, the BD-8 at High R.5 is a median rarity within those pieces -- that is to say, it is quite rare. The 1795 half eagles as a group were the first U.S. gold coins that the two-year-old fledgling Philadelphia Mint struck as a denomination, after first trying its wings on first copper in 1793, then silver in 1794. The production of coinage dies was still a peril-fraught proposition. Many dies cracked early in their lifetimes, and some others were undoubtedly discarded before any coins were struck. It required some eight obverse dies and nine reverse dies to strike the 12 die pairings known today for the 1795 Small Eagle fives, to the extent of a reported 8,707 coins. (The 1795-dated half eagles with the Large Eagle/Heraldic Eagle reverse dies are thought to have been struck in 1798, and their apparently small mintage is included in the figure for that year.)

    Of the 12 die pairings for the 1795 Small Eagle fives, only one, the BD-3 at High R.3, that is less than rare or R.5 in an absolute sense -- the R.5 rarity ranking meaning, by definition, that an estimated 60 to 75 examples survive today in all grades. By that definition, the BD-8 variety of the present coin, as well as several others, fall into the same rarity category. Several other die pairings are R.6 or R.7, with the BD-11 at High R.7, according to Bass-Dannreuther.
    A few small contact marks, largely in the fields, account for the grade of this golden-yellow coin, which shows some planchet adjustment marks in the central obverse. It is, however, surprisingly well-struck correspondingly on the reverse, where the eagle's breast feathers are nicely, if not fully brought up. Excellent eye appeal is present for the grade. For all 1795 Small Eagle varieties, PCGS population data report 22 in MS62 with 15 finer (2/15).
    From The Music City Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (Variety PCGS# 519857, 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 PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 27
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,432

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