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    Description

    1795 Capped Bust Right Half Eagle, AU58
    First Year of U.S. Gold Coinage
    Small Eagle, BD-8 Variety

    1795 $5 Small Eagle, BD-8, High R.5 AU58 NGC. CAC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a/a, no clashing, no lapping, no cracks. The United States struck gold coins for circulation for the first time in 1795, after the Chief Coiner and Assayer were able to resolve some important financial difficulties with their bonds. Mint records indicate 8,707 half eagles were struck in 1795, but it is likely that some more 1795-dated coins were struck the following year, as the Mint tended to use dies as long as they were serviceable, regardless of the calendar year. In fact, there are three die varieties of 1795-dated half eagles that were obviously struck a few years later, as they exhibit the Heraldic Eagle reverse, rather than the Small Eagle reverse used in 1795. There are 12 die varieties of 1795 half eagles that employ the earlier Small Eagle reverse, suggesting that die breakage was a severe problem in the early days of U.S. coinage, and making the Mint's unwritten policy of using any dies as long as they held together understandable.

    The present coin represents the BD-8 variety, with a narrow date that has the 1 just free of the hair and three berries in the wreath, with the one on the outside left branch placed high. The BD-8 is one of the more available varieties of this issue, but it is still a rare coin in the absolute sense, with a surviving population of 30-40 examples in all grades. The obverse die was used again to strike the BD-9 and BD-10 varieties of 1795, and then stored for a few years and used to strike the extremely rare BD-13 Heraldic Eagle variety in 1797 or 1798. The reverse die was also stored and later used to produce the extremely rare BD-1 Small Eagle variety of 1798.

    This coin is a pleasing near-Mint specimen, with just a trace of wear on the high points of the design elements. The rich yellow and orange-gold surfaces are lightly abraded and retain traces of original mint luster on both sides. The overall presentation is most attractive for this important, first-year issue. Census: 54 in 58 (1 in 58 ), 62 finer. CAC: 9 in 58, 15 finer (9/19).
    From The Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection, Part II. (NGC ID# 25ND, Variety PCGS# 519857, Base PCGS# 8066)

    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 Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection, Part II ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
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