SOLD – $5.00 – 1795 Small Eagle NGC AU55+

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SOLD – $5.00 – 1795 Small Eagle NGC AU55+


Serial Number 2649519-002

PCGS Lookup Number 8066

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BD-4, R-5. Small Eagle reverse.

The 1795 Small Eagle reverse shows the honor with the 1795 eagle as being the first regular issue gold coin struck at the United States mint. It is likely that as many as 500-600 are known from the original mintage of 8,707 but a number of these are either damaged or in low grade and the higher grade survivors are out of reach for all but the wealthiest collector. In my experience, the number of really choice collector-quality 1795 half eagles is actually very small; probably no more than a few dozen and most of these are off the market in tightly-held specialized or type collections.

This remarkable coin was recently found in England (along with a high grade 1794 silver dollar) where it had resided in a family’s collection, likely since the date of issue or close to it. The coloration is what makes this piece special. Both the obverse and the reverse show spectacular deep reddish-gold color which changes to violet in the reverse fields. This color is likely the result of storage in an old wood coin cabinet and the 1794 dollar which this piece was found with was deeply toned as well. The details seen on both sides are above average although there is some striking weakness at the central reverse; this is typical for the BD-4 die variety. Both sides have a good detail of underlying luster and the surfaces lack any significant marks or planchet adjustments. The eye appeal is exceptional.

A less attractive NGC AU55+ 1795 Small Eagle half eagle sold for $42,300 as Heritage 1/15: 4272 and I have seen a number of average quality NGC AU55′s sell dealer-to-dealer in the $37,500 to $42,500 price range.

There are few early gold issues which are more romantic than this first-year-of-issue half eagle and while it is not “cheap” it is till affordable, unlike so many other trophy pieces from this era. The color and freshness of this coin make it special and once this piece sells, it will be highly unlikely that I will be handling many more appealing 1795 half eagles anytime soon.