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    Very Rare 1797 Quarter Eagle, BD-1, AU53
    Excellent Luster and Eye Appeal

    1797 $2 1/2 AU53 PCGS. Breen-6115, BD-1, R.6. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/a. After the meager mintage of an estimated 963 1796 No Stars quarter eagles and then 432 With Stars quarter eagles, the Mint in 1797 produced an even skimpier total, 427 examples of the 1797, assuming none of the 1796 dies were carried over. Bass-Dannreuther apparently believe the opposite -- that some of the 1797-dated coins may have been struck in other years -- as they estimate that 427 to 585 coins were struck of the BD-1 1797. They further estimate that 20 to 25 coins survive today in all grades, producing a survival rate of 4% or 5%. This is particularly interesting because all known examples of the BD-1 show a large obverse die crack running from the Y in LIBERTY to touch stars 12 and 13, and a single, unique late-state coin is known where this area has turned into a massive retained cud covering stars 8 through 11, most of 12, and touching two points of star 13.
    Given the die state evidence, we are left with two possibilities: That the obverse die cracked quite early in the mintage but managed to survive for several hundred strikes -- doubtful at best -- or that all of examples struck before the die cracked managed to succumb to attrition -- a slightly more plausible explanation, since examples with such a bold die break might have had a greater chance of being saved.
    The reverse die was used to strike the JR-1 1798/7 dimes as well as this quarter eagle variety, apparently after the quarter eagles, as none are known with the later die states that the dimes show.
    The present example shows exuberant surfaces that show considerable luster remaining for the grade, with yellow-gold coloration . A few small ticks and abrasions appear scattered about under a loupe, none worthy of note. The strike is a trifle weak in the centers of each side, but all these footnotes are minor compared to the excellent eye appeal of this very rare coin.(Registry values: P9) (NGC ID# BFVR, PCGS# 7648)

    Weight: 4.37 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 Dates
    January, 2012
    4th-8th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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