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Sharp 1798 Quarter Eagle, BD-2, Choice AU
With Uncommon 6x7 Star Arrangement

1798 $2 1/2 AU55 NGC. Wide Date, Five Berries, Breen-6117, BD-2, R.5. The obverse shows a widely spaced date with the last digit 8 implanted in the lower bust. The BD-1 is the Close Date obverse, with Four Berries reverse. Together they comprise the sole varieties known for the year, with Bass-Dannreuther estimating the BD-1 at High R.5 (25-30 known) and the BD-2 at R.5 (45-55 known). (For many years the Wide Date BD-2 was thought the rarer of the two.) Even within the somewhat primitively made Draped Bust quarter eagle series, both varieties are unusual in their 6x7 obverse star arrangement, a departure from the usual star arrangements of:

1796 (With Stars) BD-3.

--7x6. 1797 BD-1; 1805 BD-1; 1806/4 BD-1; 1806/5 BD-2; 1807 BD-1.

--8x5. 1802 BD-1, BD-2, BD-3; 1804 BD-1, BD-2; 1806/4 BD-1.

Note the continual fiddling with the 7x6 versus 8x5 star arrangements, which lasted for a decade: The ordered, pedestrian 7 left, 6 right configuration provides the greatest balance and symmetry for the 13 stars, while the 8 left, 5 right arrangement creates an asymmetrical layout with LIBERTY cascading down the right margin of the obverse.
The Five Berries reverse is notable as well: In addition to quarter eagles, it was used for the production of the 1798 JR-4 dime, then the 1800 JR-1 dime.
This Choice AU piece has bright, reflective fields that are mellowed somewhat by reddish patina, with other areas showing yellow-gold coloration. The definition is sharp throughout, save for some of the reverse stars. There are numerous small abrasions scattered over each side, none worthy of individual mention.
From The R.M. Phillips Limited Partnership Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 25F5, PCGS# 7649)

View all of [The R.M. Phillips Limited Partnership Collection ]

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Auction Dates
Jul-Aug, 2009
31st-2nd Friday-Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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