By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
The 1795 $10 eagle is among the most iconic issues to emerge from the early United States Mint. We are thrilled to present an exceptional example in lot 3177 of our November 2019 Baltimore Auction. Graded AU-53 (PCGS), this lustrous BD-4 eagle represents an important offering for type collectors and specialists.
Large and impressive at 33 mm, the $10 eagle served as the largest gold denomination for the fledgling nation’s monetary system. Designed by Robert Scot, the Small Eagle reverse type was only used for three years and was replaced in 1797 by the Heraldic Eagle reverse. The number of eagles delivered in 1795 is recorded as 5,583 pieces, but this does not account for the likelihood that a significant quantity of 1795-dated coins was also made in 1796. Detailed studies by John Dannreuther indicate that the actual mintage for all 1795-dated eagles is probably between 5,859 and 10,915 coins.
Four of the five die marriages bear a reverse that has 13 leaves on the palm frond held in the eagle’s talons. The BD-4 variety, as offered here, is among the scarcer die pairings with an estimated 60 to 80 examples believed extant in all grades. This late-die state example shows the faint cracks that have formed on both the obverse and reverse. Any example from the first year of issue is in great demand and we expect that advanced type collectors and early gold variety enthusiasts will compete vigorously for this coin.
Rich honey-olive hues lighten to medium gold in the fields. Softness along the upper right obverse and lower right reverse borders reveals areas of planchet adjustment that occurred before striking. Even so, this is a well-struck coin for a product of the early United States Mint with virtually all design elements sharply defined. Suitably lustrous for the assigned grade, this otherwise satiny example has modest semi-reflectivity in the fields.
We last offered an example at the AU-53 (PCGS) level in our sale of August 2013, where one brought $58,750 in lot 4502. More recently, our August 2019 sale of the Taraszka Collection included an MS-62 (PCGS) example that brought $144,000 in lot 4005.
This historic 1795 $10 is offered in lot 3177 of our November 2019 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo. The entire auction is currently available for viewing and bidding on our website, StacksBowers.com, or you can contact our offices to secure a copy of the printed catalog. To feature your collection in one of our auctions, speak with a numismatic representative today at 800-566-2580 or email [email protected]. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.