1795 $10 13 Leaves MS (PCGS# 8551)

The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money

  • Auctioneer:
    Stack's Bowers
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Lot Description
1795 Capped Bust Right Eagle. Taraszka-4, BD-4. Rarity-5. 13 Leaves. AU-53 (PCGS). Mostly olive gold surfaces display considerable underlying mint luster on both sides of this lovely early eagle. This piece was prooflike at the time of issue, and traces of mirror reflectivity can be seen in the protected areas of the designs, outlining the devices and legends. The strike is typical for the era showing sharpness in some areas and softness in others, but it is worth noting that probably 80 percent of the eagle's breast feathers are visible, this being an area of common weakness. Some faint adjustment marks can be seen at the reverse border, as made. A small dig in the reverse field likely accounts for the grade, as otherwise the coin is actually quite nice and fully original. If some of the light surface debris were to be removed by expert conservation, this eye appeal would likely be enhanced. Although listed as Rarity-5 overall, examples grading AU or finer are rare, probably in the Rarity-6+ or even in the Rarity-7- category. This is an absolutely superb candidate for a first-class type set of United States gold coins.<br /> <br /> When the 1795 eagle made its debut in the autumn of that year, it must have been a great novelty to banks, merchants, and others who saw it in circulation for the first time. In this era, gold coins in commerce were dominated by Spanish-American issues, with no federal gold until late summer, when the first half eagles were struck, then the eagle, as here. Interestingly, there was no mark of value at all on either the eagle or the half eagle, and such coins were valued based upon their weight and purity.<br /> <br /> Perhaps the earliest eagles were made in quantities too small to attract much notice in contemporary newspapers, or there may have been other reasons, but whatever the scenario, very little has ever been found in the way of contemporary comments other than in Treasury reports. However, bankers were quite aware of current coi
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