1803 Capped Bust Right Eagle. BD-3, Taraszka-28. Rarity-4. Small Reverse Stars. MS-62 (PCGS). CAC. A truly exceptional survivor of this Early Gold issue, with vibrant sunshine-yellow coloration and scattered peach accents throughout. Sharply struck by early U.S. Mint standards, Libertys portrait is bold on the obverse as are the eagles feathers on the reverse. A tinge of softness is noted at the reverse arrows and the clouds, revealing evidence of mint-made planchet adjustment. The luster is intensely satiny and largely undisturbed, contributing to superior eye appeal for the assigned grade. Just 23 coins have been certified finer by PCGS and only 7 finer have been approved by CAC across both PCGS and NGC-certified examples. An ideal PQ example for a high-end type set or a specialized set of early eagles. The eagles coined in 1803 offer a fascinating insight into the difficulties the early Mint confronted with coin production. Only a single 1803-dated obverse die was hardy enough to produce the entire output of eagles, but the six different reverse dies tell a different story. The first two reverse dies for this issue seemingly did not last very long, producing between 1,800 and 3,100 coins between the two of them. Mint personnel then resurrected an 1801 reverse die to produce the BD-3 die pair, one that at least was able to coin some 7,500 to 10,000 eagles before it, too, failed. It is uncertain what precisely led to its failure as a terminal die state is not presently known, but the strong clash marks and evidence of heavy die lapping on the reverse or remove an earlier series of clash marks would tend to indicate that withdrawal from use was likely eminent by the time these last few coins were produced from this die pair. As with other early gold issues, the precise mintage is a matter of conjecture. The widely accepted and most quoted figure is that 15,017 pieces were struck in 1803 divided between 8,979 Small Reverse Stars and 6,038 Large Reverse Stars coins. The die sequence analysis by John Dannreuther points to a larger quantity somewhere in the range of range of 13,850 to 20,450 specimens because the original estimate fails to take into account a later batch of eagles struck in 1804 using a backdated 1803 obverse. The BD-3 variety has long proven to be the most available of the six die pairs with as many as 200 individual specimens in existence, though one should be cautious to apply the word "common" to any early gold eagle, as the mass meltings in later decades took a very heavy toll indeed. A modest number of Mint State examples exist for numismatists to appreciate, though this is an issue that becomes increasingly challenging the higher up the scale. Additional approval by CAC increases this challenge.