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    1797/5 BD-7 Half Eagle, AU58
    Only Collectible 1797 Heraldic Eagle Five

    1797/5 $5 Large Eagle, 15 Stars AU58 NGC. BD-7, High R.6. Considerable confusion once existed surrounding the identification of certain early half eagle varieties, including the 1797-dated issues. Although Edgar Adams and others studied the early gold varieties, the first serious attempt into the classification of these coins was by Walter Breen, published in the 1960s as part of the Hewitt Information Series. Among the Large or Heraldic Eagle issues, he enumerated three varieties, his 12-X, 13-Y, and 14-Z. Breen-12X is the Normal Date variety with 16 Stars, Breen-13Y is the 1797/5 overdate, and Breen-14Z is a variety that is now believed not to exist as he described it, but rather, was a die state of the 13Y die combination. In the meantime, Robert Miller continued to list and separately number a variety described as Breen-14Z. He also mislabeled the Breen equivalents, creating further confusion. Meanwhile, an additional variety has been identified that was previously unlisted.
    Fortunately, Whitman published a new reference in 2006 that clarified all of the early gold varieties in all three denominations. John Dannreuther's Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, A Study of Die States, 1795-1834, was written using notes from the late Harry W. Bass, Jr., who is listed as a co-author. The present variety is extremely important for collectors, as Dannreuther notes: "This is the only collectible 1797 Large Eagle variety, as the other two varieties (BD-5 and 6) are currently unique and preserved in the Smithsonian."
    This example matches Walter Breen's descriptions for both the 13Y and 14Z varieties. Unfortunately, Breen's descriptions were ambiguous, leading to much of the further confusion. The surfaces are mostly lustrous with bright greenish-yellow gold color and excellent eye appeal. A trace of orange toning adds to the overall look. Minor abrasions and imperfections are visible on both sides, but none stand out as particularly distracting. Census: 2 in 58, 1 finer (6/12).(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 7HF2, PCGS# 8077)

    Weight: 8.75 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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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2012
    2nd-5th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,298

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