1797戴帽半身像右鹰 NGC MS 62
1797 Capped Bust Right Eagle. Small Eagle. BD-1, Taraszka-7. Rarity-5. MS-62 (NGC). A bright and beautiful Mint State example of the elusive 1797 Small Eagle $10. Golden-honey patina blankets the semi-prooflike surfaces, the reverse field particularly reflective when viewed with direct lighting. Both sides are ideally centered within uniformly denticulated borders, and most design elements are sharply to fully defined. Softness of strike is minor and largely confined to Libertys mouth, the hair behind the ear, and the eagles head, breast and left leg. Wispy handling marks are commensurate with the assigned grade. Light parallel striations on the reverse are as made and not readily evident at all viewing angles. BD Die State b/b.
The mintage for the 1797 Small Eagle provided in most numismatic references is 3,615 coins, based on Walter Breens (<em>Encyclopedia</em>, 1988) assertion that the 3,615 eagles delivered from March 25 through May 2, 1797, were of this issue. Based on a more exhaustive study of die states and emission sequences, as well as modern estimates on the number of coins extant, John W. Dannreuther (2006) provides an estimated mintage of 1,250 to 3,615 coins for the 1797 Small Eagle. Indeed, we now know that some 1796-dated coins were struck after the 1797 Small Eagle pieces, perhaps included among the 3,615 eagles delivered between Mar 25 and May 2 (see below).The 1797 is the scarcest date in the Capped Bust Right, Small Eagle ten-dollar gold series of 1795 to 1797.
Most survivors are of BD Die State b/b, as here, although the Harry Bass Core Collection specimen on display at the American Numismatic Association Museum is a notable exception without the prominent obverse die break at 4:30 (Die State a/b). At least one 1796 is known to have been struck after all known 1797 Small Eagle coins, a conclusion based on the presence of a reverse die crack from the border through the right side of the letter O in OF to the wreath. Whether a remarriage for the 1797 Small Eagle is also known is pending discovery of an example of this date with that reverse die crack (Die State b/c, theoretical). Your cataloger (JLA) thinks this is unlikely since the prominent obverse die break seen on most 1797 Small Eagle coins undoubtedly resulted in the dies failure, withdrawal from production, and (brief) replacement by the 1796-dated obverse die. A highlight of the present sale, this lovely and scarce early eagle is sure to find its way into a highly regarded numismatic cabinet.