1806/4 Stars 8x5 Quarter Eagle, BD-1, MS611806/4 $2 1/2 8x5 Stars MS61 NGC. Breen-6122, BD-1, High R.4. The 8x5 star arrangement (as well as the obvious overdate) is an easy tipoff to the attribution of this variety, as the 1806/5 BD-2 obverse shows the stars arranged 7x6. Bass-Dannreuther rank the 8x5 BD-1, the present example, as High R.4, meaning that 75-90 survivors are estimated, while the 7x6 BD-2 is ranked High R.5, meaning that only 25-35 exist today.
This is another early quarter eagle variant whose long-lived reverse die was also used in the production of early dimes, in this case the 1807 JR-1 variety, as well as on the 1805 BD-1, the 1806/5 BD-2, and the 1807 BD-1 quarter eagles.
On the obverse star 1 barely touches the faint hair curl second from the bottom, and the tops of the 1 and 6 touch the hair and bust, respectively. A point of star 7 is firmly embedded in the rear of Liberty's turban. Much of the lower 4 underdigit is visible both inside and outside the lower loop of the 6. On the workhorse reverse, the 13 stars are arranged in remarkably regular rows of six, five, and two, with star 11 showing repunching. The obverse is here in BD State b, with numerous tiny die cracks joining the letter tops of LIBERTY and most of the peripheral stars.
Concerning the reverse, Bass-Dannreuther comments it "... wins the most-coins-struck award for a die of this type. As one can see by the cracking of many of these early dies, this reverse die certainly was an exception to the rule, as most dies of this era never struck more than 10,000 or so coins--no other quarter eagle die of this type struck over a few thousand quarter eagles!"
There is some strike softness noted in the center, and there are numerous adjustment marks through Liberty's turban, face, neck, and hair, although they are only faintly seen without the aid of a loupe. Some central weakness is also noted on the reverse, and a small scrape runs from the right juncture of the wing and scroll top to the horizontal shield lines. Despite these minor distractions, the piece is pretty and appealing, with greenish-gold, semiprooflike surfaces and considerable mint luster. A nice example for an early gold type set.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFVW, PCGS# 7654)
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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