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    1795 Small Eagle Five, AU58
    BD-9, Narrow Date, Semiprooflike

    1795 $5 Small Eagle, BD-9, High R.5, AU58 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b. Collectors uninitiated in the series would be surprised to learn that the 1795 Small Eagle five dollar gold pieces -- the first gold coins officially struck under federal sanction at the fledgling U.S. Mint, beating the 1795 ten dollar pieces by a couple of months -- are found in 12 different die pairings. Those 12 die marriages are shared among the estimated mintage, which the Guide Book gives as 8,707 coins but which Bass-Dannreuther guess could be as high as 12,106 pieces bearing the 1795 date -- not necessarily all struck in 1795.

    Among the 12 1795 varieties, only the BD-3, ranked High R.3, can be considered only moderately scarce for the issue, with an estimated 2,000-3,000 pieces known, according to Bass-Dannreuther. The present BD-9 variety is far rarer, rated High R.5 with an estimated survival of only 35-45 coins.

    The BD-9 obverse is also called the 1795 Small Eagle, Narrow Date due to the narrowly spaced numerals. That obverse is shared with two other reverse dies on the BD-8 and BD-10. Bass-Dannreuther note that this variety is not as available as has sometimes been supposed, perhaps because the Narrow Date moniker is applied to all three varieties. The 1 in the date nearly touches the hair, and most of the flag of the 5 overlies the drapery. The 17 and 5 of the date are tall, with the 9 much shorter, and digits are crammed together in a distinctive way.

    The reverse show four berries in the wreath, "nearly level," as Harry Bass wrote in his notes.

    The present near-Mint State coin displays semiprooflike surfaces with an excellent complement of remaining luster -- a not-uncommon occurrence on high-grade examples of the 1795. The strike is somewhat soft in the centers, and the surfaces overall have a pronounced reddish-gold color that contributes to the broad appeal. Diagonal planchet adjustment marks appear on the eagle's breast. The surfaces are lightly but extensively peppered with minor abrasions, but the high points display just a minor hint of rub consistent with the grade.
    Ex: Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2011), lot 4434.

    Coin Index Numbers: (Variety PCGS# 519858, 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
    January, 2017
    4th-9th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 690

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