Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1270

1795 $10 Capped Bust. 9 leaves. NGC graded MS-61. In NGC holder 2030720-014. The rarest eagle die marriage. An estimate of fewer than 500 made with 20-22 known in all grades. A far better than average struck specimen with the diagnostic die buckling in the field below the palm branch and in the upper half of the first T in STATES and at first A of AMERICA. The surfaces are lustrous with the normal allotment of light handling marks, none of which are worthy of description.

A sterling Brilliant Uncirculated example of the greatest rarity contained in the short-lived Small Eagle series of $10 gold coins, 1795-97. Within this small body of early gold varieties, a 1795 9 Leaves is just about as rare an issue as there is in the entire 138-year history of the denomination.

The 1795 9 Leaves $10 as a variety become all the more popular in recent decades upon the release of pamphlets and researcher work describing them. It was apparently known as early as 1926 when Waldo Newcomer paid $100 for a circulated example, several times the price for a commoner 1795 13 Leaves $10. Since the 1960s, examples have been auctioned an average of once every two to three years.

Designed by Robert Scot, 116 pieces were struck on March 30, 1796, according to Breen, plus an unknown (but presumably small) number struck on March 1, 1796 on Warrant No. 58, which had a total mintage of 1,169 pieces, not all of them from this pair of dies.

A small mark is located in the field by the 9 of the date; several light scuffs in the surface at Liberty's throat, with some faint signs of adjustment in the shallow-struck central hair region above and behind the ear. Such minor ephemera are apparently common to most, if not all 9 Leaves coins, and their presence indicates nothing more than little pointers when differentiating one coin from another. It may be that the dies were inspected often and quickly condemned when flaws were found since the 1795 9 Leaf reverse developed some breaks including a lump break at the tip of the second leave and another from the edge looping through the top of the first T in STATES (both present here). According to some, gold coins were important public relations items for the United States, ambassadors to the world, as it were. Because of this, care was taken to avoid releasing gold coins with die breaks or other blunders into circulation. The fields are semi-reflective, as often seen on 1795 Eagles. Today, it is believed that there are approximately 20 examples known, making it the rarest of the seven known Small Eagle varieties this year.

According to Dannreuther, "It is not known whether the 9 leaves on the branch indicate an experiment or a die cutting error, but the fact that the reverse was changed to 11 leaves for 1796 and 1797 indicates that it was an intentional experiment. Perhaps the arrangement of 13 leaves was considered too crowded and grouping of 9 leaves was thought too sparse, leading to the introduction of 11 leaves on the branch in 1796." We shall never know for sure. Pop 1; 1 finer at MS-63 (PCGS # 8552) .
Estimated Value $200,000 - 220,000.

Realized $224,250

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