Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 75

September Pre Long Beach

$10 Gold
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 2158
1795. BD-4, Breen-6830, Taraszka-4. NGC graded MS-64. A trifle soft in the center and some light adjustment marks across the eagle's breast feathers. The lustrous surfaces are quite reflective.

Dies identifiable by 5 in date being free from bust, and a leaf distant from U(NITED) on the reverse. Reverse die state b in which there are more advanced cracks and a larger lump left of A(MERICA), but not yet lapped.

This astonishing (and quite beautiful) early eagle is a highlight in the sale. Early ten dollar gold pieces were given the name 'eagle,' at the time the Coinage Act of 1792 was enacted. Until 1849, Eagles were the largest gold coins produced by the first U.S. Mint; the first series is from 1795 through 1797 and displays a small eagle reverse. Like all early gold coins, these pieces did not carry a denomination as part of the design. John Dannreuther explains: 'The eagle was the second gold denomination struck by the United States Mint. Calling it a denomination is actually a misnomer. Even though a gold eagle was denominated as a ten-dollar coin, our forefathers traded gold by the tale. [Tale, in this instance, means count or tally, a number of things taken together (i.e., the weight and purity of an individual coin).] The weight and purity were the only things important to merchants and individuals -- money was gold, and gold was money. In most cases, transactions of even a nominal sum had to be settled in gold, especially whenever governments were involved. There really was no need at first for a stated denomination on either gold or silver coins, because it was known that our coins would be under extreme scrutiny and would likely be assayed by foreign mints and others as to their weight and purity.' (At the time, British gold coins also did not carry a standard denomination.)

"In his new reference, Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, Dannreuther provides estimated mintages for every variety, as well as estimates of the number of survivors for each variety. What is known for sure is that the number of die marriages known from 1795 through 1804 (32) and the total mintage for that period (132,714 coins including 122 pieces reserved for assay). By using the midpoint of Dannreuther's survival estimates, we can also establish an approximate survival rate for the series of 2.5%."

Many of the Mint State 1795 Eagles have Prooflike tendencies, much like this coin does. Although the fields are not deeply mirrored, they are clearly reflective. The surfaces are excellent and almost totally mark-free with only a few scattered abrasions as noted. Faint adjustment marks are evident at the center of the reverse, and also on some of the reverse denticles. All of the design features on both sides are boldly made as though given an extra strong blow from the dies. This example is a relatively late die state of the variety, which is especially noted in the advanced stage of the lump in the reverse field between OF and AMERICA. Despite the existence of several Mint State pieces, mainly in lesser grades, this example is one of the best. An incredible coin, and a first-class occasion for the earnest buyer of rare Early United States gold coinage! Pop 1; 1 finer in 65.
Historic Note: The mintages were small in 1795-1804, because little demand existed domestically for Eagles. The first United States Mint struck coins to order, for the most part. Bankers and others deposited silver or gold with the Mint, which the Mints workers turned into coinage in the denominations ordered, and then delivered to the owners of the precious metals.

Those depositing gold with the Mint in those early years has a preference for the more convenient $5 half eagles to the $10 eagles, ordering more of the smaller denomination than the larger. As best as we can understand, the eagle was too large for small transactions but too small for convenient transportation or storage of large sums. Many 1795-1804 eagles were exported.

Striking gold eagles that were only going to be exported or melted was wasteful of the Mints production capacity. Production of this denomination ceased in 1804, possibly under the orders of President Jefferson. The halt in production for the gold eagle proved more than momentary. It wouldnt be struck for circulation again until 1838, at the second Philadelphia Mint. Estimated Value $200,000-UP
View details and enlarged photos

Home | Current Sale | Calendar of Events | Bidding | Consign | About Us | Contact | Archives | Log In

US Coins & Currency | World & Ancient Coins | Manuscripts & Collectibles | Bonded CA Auctioneers No. 3S9543300
11400 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite 800, Los Angeles CA 90064 | 310. 551.2646 ph | 310.551.2626 fx | 800.978.2646 toll free

© 2011 Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, All Rights Reserved