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    1808 Half Eagle, BD-4, MS61
    Unlisted Late Die State
    Heavily Clashed Reverse

    1808 $5 Wide 5D, BD-4, High R.3, MS61 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State -- unlisted. BD-4 has long been believed to only exist in a single die state, with a lapped obverse and a perfect reverse. This Mint State example, however, exhibits bold clash marks over the entire reverse, confirming the existence of a second die state for this variety. John Dannreuther, writing in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, remarks that, "This variety is the first early gold coin that seems to have a single die state for both dies for the entire production run," but indeed, it is now known to exist in a second, later die state as well.

    This clashing apparently occurred near the end of 1808 half eagle production, as the silhouette of the 1808 date is clearly transferred to the upper reverse behind STATES. Other clash marks are prominent throughout, with Liberty's entire portrait boldly outlined on the reverse. This clashing is much more extensive than is seen on the earliest die state of the 1809/8 die marriage, suggesting that this reverse was lapped prior to its usage with the 1809 obverse. In reference to the 1809/8 variety, John Dannreuther mentions the possibility of a perfect die state, but adds that it "probably does not exist," and we now know that it does not, since the reverse clashed prior to that die pairing. The die state sequence, then, consists of the 1808 c/a state with a perfect reverse, this late 1808 state with a heavily clashed reverse, and the 1809 a/b state, with the lapped reverse.

    This piece is well-struck, with lustrous green-gold surfaces and minimal abrasions for the grade. A study of our auction archives reveals that we have offered a handful of pieces with this late die state over the past two decades, but only one was recognized. This is a landmark coin and an important acquisition for the advanced specialist.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 25PA, Variety PCGS# 507605, Base 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jan-Feb, 2015
    29th-1st Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 685

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