Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 42

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Lot 3352

1795 $10 Capped Bust. 13 leaves. NGC graded MS-64. T-1. NGC #1776966-022. Very boldly struck and intensely lustrous. A stunning untoned example with great eye appeal and semi reflective surfaces throughout. This remarkable (and remarkably beautiful) early eagle traces to the Freedom Collection sold by the firm of Heritage Auction Galleries. In that earlier sale, a foundation was laid for the coin's heritage by this detailed chronology (from which we quote): "The ten dollar gold pieces, given the name 'eagle,' were the largest gold coins produced by the first U.S. Mint from 1795 through 1804. Like all early gold coins, these pieces did not carry an actual 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.'

"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. The only thing we know for sure is 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%."

Such a low survival ratio! Is it any wonder coins like these are the crème de la crème of numismatics in 21st Century America?

1795 BD-1 is believed to be the first variety struck that year. "Quite a few examples survive in Mint State grades," explains the Freedom Collection description, "giving collectors a reasonable chance of obtaining a high-quality example of the Small Eagle reverse design. Many of the Mint State pieces have Prooflike fields, much like this coin does. Although the fields are not deeply mirrored, they are clearly reflective. The surfaces are exceptional and almost totally mark-free with only a few scattered abrasions. Faint adjustment marks are evident at the center of the obverse, and also on some of the obverse dentils. All of the design elements on both sides are sharply struck, suggesting to some the possibility that this may have been some type of presentation piece. This example is a relatively early die state of the variety, with faint obverse die cracks but no evidence of any reverse cracks. Despite the existence of several Mint State pieces, this example is one of the best…" and indeed it is, an incredible coin, and a first-class opportunity for the earnest buyer of rare United States gold coinage! Pop 1; 2 finer in 65 (PCGS # 8551) .
Estimated Value $400,000 - 500,000.
Ex Freedom Collection.

Realized $448,500

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