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    Description

    1808 Capped Bust Left Half Eagle, MS64
    Very Scarce BD-3 Variety
    Only Two Finer PCGS Coins

    1808 $5 MS64 PCGS. BD-3, R.4. This variety has confused many notable numismatists over the past century. Part of the reason is its similarity to BD-2, which shares the same reverse die. One way to tell the two varieties apart is to examine the exact center of the obverse. BD-3 shows a tiny dot, probably from a compass point when the die was first laid out. BD-2 instead has a small incused circle in the same location. BD-3 and BD-4 use the same obverse die, further complicating matters. Clapp and Newcomer failed to collect or designate BD-3, but Edgar H. Adams noted it as his number 3. Breen (1966) listed two 1808 die pairs, 3-A and 4-A, that each turned out to be different die states (unclashed and clashed) of BD-3. Miller (1997) continued Breen's error, as Bass' research was yet unpublished. The present piece is the unclashed die state, which Dannreuther catalogs as Obverse State a and Reverse State d.
    This boldly struck near-Gem has original green-gold toning, with hints of peach across the open fields. The surfaces are impressively smooth, and in fact the only feature that can be used for pedigree purposes is a tiny area of dark toning near the left foot of the I in UNITED. Unquestionably among the finest known 1808 BD-3 half eagles.
    PCGS reports 14 pieces certified as MS64, with two finer (6/12). However, these figures combine BD-3 and BD-4 examples, and there may be resubmissions as well.
    Ex: Bartle Collection (Stack's, 10/1984), lot 1112; Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 789; California Sale (Ira & Larry Goldberg, 10/2000), lot 888; Wayne Rich Collection (Bowers and Merena, 3/2002), lot 222; A Gentleman's Collection of Early Gold Coins (American Numismatic Rarities, 6/1005), lot 1011; Milwaukee ANA Convention (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1901.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 4U57, PCGS# 8102)

    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: 4
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