BD-5, High Rarity-5. Die State C with a massive terminal crack on the obverse that starts at the rim above star seven, runs through the entire length of the portrait and through the 8 in the date and ends at the rim at 5:00. The 1798 is the most affordable half eagle from the 18th century and this makes it extremely popular with collectors. There are a host of varieties and it is among the most fascinating early gold issues in my opinion. This is an extremely choice example for the grade with good detail and attractive rich reddish color on the obverse and reverse. The central reverse is weak as always seen on the late die state of this variety; when you look at how massive the aforementioned obverse crack is, you will understand why there is not much detail at the central reverse. I think PCGS was spot-on in assigning this coin an EF45 grade but it is much nicer than most 1798 half eagles in 45 holders. The last APR for a PCGS EF45 was in Heritage 2004 ANA sale and the last I saw, in the inventory of a knowledgeable Southern dealer, was not as nice and priced to me at $13,500. Coins like this are in great demand and once this is sold, who knows when another will become available?
BD-4, High Rarity-4. This variety is easily recognized by the reverse cuds at ES in STATES and O in OF. There have actually been a fairly decent number of 1798 half eagles on the market in the last few months and with the exception of a few, I have been largely unimpressed. Most had been dipped at one time and most were liberally abraded. I like this coin because it is very original and because it is clean. I think it compares favorably to other 1798 half eagles that I've seen in MS61 holders and it would not look out of place in such a slab. The color of this coin is exceptional with splendid rich orange-gold that deepens to red at the left obverse and throughout much of the reverse. There is a slight amount of friction on the high spots and a number of adjustment marks (mint-made, of course) on the reverse that form a criss-cross pattern within the shield and the inner parts of the wings. As is typical of this variety, the centers are not as sharp as the borders and I have seen similar adjustment marks on a number of 1798 BD-4 half eagles. The originality and eye appeal of this coin make it very special and this is a wonderful piece of 18th century American gold.