1791 Small Eagle Cent. Musante GW-17, Baker-16, W-10630. UNITED STATES Edge. MS-62 BN (PCGS). This handsome piece exhibits dominant olive-copper patina, the central obverse revealing swirls of original rose-apricot color. The surfaces are hard and tight, the reverse a bit subdued, although both sides are free of distracting marks or other blemishes. Well struck overall, softness to the top of Washingtons head is characteristic of this type. The Washington Small Eagle cents were produced by W. and Alex Walker of Birmingham, England in an attempt to convince the United States Congress that their private firm could supply high quality coinage to the new nation at less expense than a government owned and operated mint. Dies for this type are attributed to John Gregory Hancock, Jr., who also designed the famous 1792 Washington Roman Head cent. Walker shipped approximately 1,500 Small Eagle cents (as well as 2,500 Large Eagle examples) to Thomas Ketland & Sons in Philadelphia for presentation to legislators. Most of those examples eventually found their way into circulation in the coinage-starved United States of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but todays collectors are fortunate in that many high grade examples were preserved by collectors and others in England. The present example, representing the scarcer Small Eagle type, probably owes its preservation to earlier generations of English numismatists. A find for the discerning collector.