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    Description

    1797 BD-1 Five Dollar, AU53
    Small Eagle, 15 Stars Obverse

    1797 $5 Small Eagle, 15 Stars AU53 PCGS. BD-1, R.7. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b, strongly cracked from the upper left obverse rim through Liberty's cap and into the upper hair. The PCGS green label holder lists the PCGS number as "8068," but in the current system "8069" for the 15 Stars obverse is the correct value.

    The half eagles of 1797, despite covering seven distinct die pairs, are a case of "choose your rarity." The commonest 1797 half eagle, the BD-3 (Small Eagle reverse, 16 Stars obverse), gets a hopeful assessment in the Bass-Dannreuther reference that it "may have as many as 25 survivors." The BD-1 die pair represented by this lot, by contrast, is rated as "10-15 Known" in Bass-Dannreuther, putting the variety in the borderland between "very rare" and "extremely rare." It also happens to rank second out of seven 1797 half eagle die pairs in the survivorship tally, a clear demonstration of the devastating power of a small initial mintage combined with the mass-melting of old-tenor gold coinage in the years surrounding 1834.

    Only a handful of examples have crossed the auction block within the last decade. The majority are well-preserved, while even the impaired examples (such as the January 2013 Richmond Hill Collection coin, offered by Heritage) have quality details grades. This AU53 example remains faintly lustrous through lemon-yellow and antique-gold fields. Only light wear crosses the high points, though the surfaces show a few small digs and scattered, wispy marks. Opportunities to own coins like this seldom come around, and for those with the budget and the inclination, this is a chance to seize without fear.
    From the collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# BFWW, PCGS# 8069)

    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 collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2014
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
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