Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 21

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Lot 1176

1797 $10 Capped Bust. Small eagle. PCGS graded AU-50. Sold by us in June 2000 as part of Dr. Jon Kardatzke's impressive collection of United States coins. The description bears repeating (in part), as follows: "The 1797 Small Eagle is the product of the Mint and politicians attempting to please the public. Apparently, the delicate small eagle reverse had proven unpopular, and this design was replaced with a slightly modified copy of the Great Seal of the United States, and employed on the Heraldic Eagle reverse. As dies were generally used until worn out, broken and couldn't be repaired, many strange date and design combinations were created during this turbulent first decade of Philadelphia Mint coin production. The new style, heraldic eagle reverse first appeared on 1796 Quarter Eagles, and from there spread out to other denominations. A few curious animals were created, such as the 1795 half eagle with the heraldic eagle reverse, or the similar 1798 small eagle half eagle. New heraldic eagle reverse dies were made for eagles in 1797, and the left over 1796 11 leaf reverse was also used to produce 1797 eagles, and was the last usage of the small eagle design.

Sought-after by rarity collectors, this coin is still known as a Rarity 5, with between 31 and 75 thought to be in existence. The obverse dies quickly broke, with a heavy die crack extending from the rim below the last star up towards Liberty's chin, with branching cracks going off the main crack in either direction. When the dies were replaced, the new heraldic eagle reverse was used, as well as a new obverse die.

This particular coin is exceptional, the surfaces show smooth, even wear and the fields, rims and devices display few signs of the usual problems that so often plague these early eagles. Identifiable by a small rim tick above the first T in STATES…"

To bring this description up to date, we note that the coin has a sunny yellow appearance with a toned area on the upper left reverse, where a faint old scratch is noted in the field to the right of the D of UNITED (another pedigree marker). PCGS has graded 4 example at this grade level, with 17 finer (the best being a single MS-62).

All in all, this is an impressive coin that will satify the needs of both date and type collectors (PCGS # 8555) .
Estimated Value $40,000 - 50,000.
Ex: From our sale of the Dr. Jon Kardatzke Collection, June 4-6, 2000, Lot 1430.

Realized $48,875

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