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    Description

    1810 Capped Bust Left Half Eagle, AU50
    Small Date, Small 5, BD-2 Variety
    Enigmatic Early Gold Rarity

    1810 $5 Small Date, Small 5, BD-2, High R.6, AU50 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b. A substantial mintage of 100,287 Capped Bust Left half eagles was accomplished in 1810, with four die varieties known for the date. Three obverse and three reverse dies were combined to complete this production. Two obverse dies exhibit the small numeral punches used from 1807-1810 in the date, while the other two varieties employ a single Large Date obverse. This coin represents the rare BD-2 variety, with the Small Date obverse and a Small 5 in the denomination. The Small Date obverse die failed quickly, as evidenced by the extensive network of die cracks seen on all known specimens. This was the only use of the obverse, but the Small 5 reverse was used again to strike the very rare BD-3 variety of this date.

    The rarity of the BD-2 issue has been a controversial subject over the years. Many of the greatest collections in history (Garrett, Eliasberg, Norweb, and Pittman) lacked an example of the BD-2, and there is no specimen in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Until fairly recent times, it was unusual for catalogers to attribute early gold issues by die variety, so many early auction appearances of the 1810 BD-2 were not properly documented and went unnoticed by later researchers. This lack of visibility in the great collections and sparse auction records caused many numismatists to believe the BD-2 was even rarer than it actually is. David Akers estimated only 4-5 examples were extant in 1979 and Walter Breen commented "Fewer than 8 seen, none UNC" in 1988. Better documentation has resulted in increased estimates of the number of survivors in recent years and PCGS CoinFacts posits as many as 20 examples may be extant in all grades and conditions today. PCGS and NGC have combined to certify only 11 specimens between them, including an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers (9/16). One uncertified example resides in the Harry Bass Foundation and several coins are known in impaired condition. We have compiled a roster of all specimens known to us (13 coins) below.

    The present coin is an attractive AU specimen with only a single auction appearance on record. It was a highlight of the famous James A. Stack Collection for many years before it was offered in a memorable auction by Stack's (no relation) in 1995. It has been off the market ever since. The portrait is sharply detailed and shows just a touch of friction on the high points, but some of the stars are a little flat on the centers. The diagnostic fatal die crack shows from the edge through the date and bust, to the edge at 2 o'clock. Other cracks travel through the date and most of the stars on the right. On the reverse, a faint crack shows from the leaves, through the denomination, and on through the letters in AMERICA. There is a diagnostic rust lump that resembles an errant berry in the left reverse field. The lustrous orange-gold surfaces display the expected number of minor abrasions for the grade and traces of prooflike reflectivity are evident in sheltered areas around the devices. The overall presentation is most attractive for this rare and underrated issue.

    Roster of 1810 Small Date, Small 5, BD-2 Half Eagles
    1. MS62 PCGS. David McCarthy, April 2004; Larry Hanks, December 2004; D. Brent Pogue Collection (Stack's Bowers, 2/2016), lot 3138, realized $99,875.
    2. MS62 NGC. Husky Collection (Stack's, 6/2008), lot 2077, realized $138,000; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2012), lot 4861, realized $132,250.
    3. AU58 PCGS, CAC. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2012), lot 4665, realized $109,250.
    4. AU58 NGC. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 2175; San Francisco Signature (Heritage, 7/2005), lot 10345.
    5. AU58 NGC. 70th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/2005), lot 1229.
    6. AU55 PCGS. Possibly J. Colvin Randall; Randall Collection, Part I (W. Elliot Woodward, 6/1885), lot 914; George Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2374; William H. Woodin, exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition; Waldo Newcomer; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green, circa 1932, via B. Max Mehl; King Farouk, via Stack's, circa 1943; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 232; Auction '88 (David Akers, 7/1988), lot 900; Diocese of Buffalo (Heritage, 6/1997), lot 6399; J.A. Sherman Collection (Stack's, 8/2007), lot 3215.
    7. AU50 NGC. Possibly purchased by James A. Stack in the 1940s; James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 3/1995), lot 465; the present coin.
    8. AU50 NGC. Discovered in the Midwest, circa 1993; Harold Rothenberger Collection (Superior, 1/1994), lot 2408; Dr. Jon Kardatzke Collection, Part II (Ira and Larry Goldberg, 6/2000), lot 1303.
    9. XF45 PCGS. Possibly Grant Pierce Collection (Stack's, 5/1965), lot 1303; R.L. Miles Collection (Stack's, 10/1968), lot 347; Mike Brownlee; Purchased by Harry W. Bass, Jr. on August 2, 1994; Bass Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 795; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2002), lot 6777.
    10. AU uncertified. Charles Gozan; Auction '80 (Paramount, 8/1980), lot 923, as part of a complete four-piece set of 1810 half eagle die varieties; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Harry Bass Foundation.
    11. AU55, cleaned and buffed, uncertified. Possibly Dr. Charles W. Green Collection (B. Max Mehl, 4/1949), lot 248; Philip G. Straus Collection (Stack's, 5/1959), lot 2406, with letters MIC in the field; Cicero Collection (New Netherlands, 12/1960), lot 110, letters removed; exhibited at RARCOA's table at the 1963 FUN Convention, per Walter Breen; 10th Anniversary Auction (Kreisberg/Schulman, 4/1967), lot 761; Auction '81 (Paramount, 7/1981), lot 1426; R.E. Naftzger FPL (Paramount, 1981), Auction '82 (Paramount, 7/1982), lot 1927; Charles Kramer Collection (Stack's/Superior, 11/1988), lot 310; Diocese of Buffalo (Heritage, 6/1997), lot 5326; Pre-Long Beach Sale (Superior, 2/2000), lot 1082, misattributed as Large Date, Small 5.
    12. AU Details NGC. Diocese of Buffalo Collection (Heritage, 7/1997), lot 5200; New York Connoisseur's Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 3/2006), lot 1584; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2014), lot 5421.
    13. AU Details, PCGS Genuine. Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2015), lot 6172; Baltimore Auction (Stack's Bowers, 11/2015), lot 20110.

    Additional Appearances
    A. "Proof." Phineas Adams; Harold P. Newlin; 69th Sale (John W. Haseltine, 6/1883), lot 345.
    B. A specimen in the possession of the Pressman brothers of Cleveland, Ohio, reported by Walter Breen.
    From The Hutchinson Collection. (NGC ID# BFXL, Variety PCGS# 507595, Base PCGS# 8105)

    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 Hutchinson Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    4th-9th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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