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    Rare BD-1 Variety, 1808/7 Half Eagle, MS61

    1808/7 $5 MS61 NGC. Breen-6454, BD-1, R.6. Lot 1752 from a June 20, 1991 Stack's auction where it was described in full as: "1808/7. About Uncirculated and sharply impressed. The obverse wholly prooflike, the reverse frosty. The entire coin a rich coppery orange." The Stack's cataloger failed to mention that this coin is the rarer of the two known 1808/7 half eagle varieties. This is an interesting fact since, years earlier, both Akers and Breen had published information regarding the two varieties and their relative scarcity to each other. Per the Bass-Dannreuther reference entitled Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties (2006), this coin is BD-1, with less than 30 specimens believed to be extant by the authors. They remark: "This variety is about five times rarer than the other overdate of this year (both employ Reverse E of 1807), and it is among the keys of this type. The combination is difficult to locate because the obverse quickly shattered and was retired."
    This coin has since been certified by NGC as MS61, which is a more accurate grade than previously ascribed in the 1991 sale. The prior cataloger mentioned that the obverse is "wholly prooflike," yet in reality the obverse displays only subtle semiprooflikeness. And, although the obverse is lacking full luster in the fields, the reverse luster is uninterrupted and strong, indicating that this piece was lightly handled but not circulated. Of course any abrasions on the delicate obverse surfaces are made more obvious due to the aforementioned semiprooflike qualities. A couple of copper toning spots on the obverse and a tiny, mint-made depression below the stem on the reverse shall serve as future pedigree markers for this rare, early half eagle variety. Since the overdate status was omitted on the NGC holder, the new owner may decide to have this piece reholdered with the variety properly noted on the label.
    From The John Stimson, Sr. Collection, Part One.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 25PB, PCGS# 8103)

    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 John Stimson, Sr. Collection, Part One ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2008
    9th-12th Wednesday-Saturday
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