||1798 $2 1/2 Five Berries AU58+ S NGC. CAC. BD-2, R.5. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a. Alternating tones of gold, with green, orange, and yellow hues, along with superb eye appeal on pristine surfaces give this near-Mint State early quarter eagle the right attributes for NGC's Star designation. The 1798 quarter eagles were the third issue of the denomination in three years, but they were struck to the meager extent of only 1,094 pieces. Both the 1798 Close Date, Four Berries BD-1 and the 1798 Wide Date, Five Berries BD-2, the only known die pairings for the year, are rare regardless of grade. The widely spaced date with the top of the 8 overlying the bottom of the bust truncation is diagnostic for the obverse, and the Five Berries design is sufficient to attribute the reverse. In a measure of Mint economy, this reverse was also used to strike silver dimes dated 1798 (JR-4) and 1800 (JR-1). The Bass-Dannreuther reference rates the 1798 Five Berries BD-2 variety at R.5 as a touch less rare than the Four Berries BD-1 at High R.5, but both are well within the "rare" category. Dannreuther estimates that 45 to 55 examples survive of the Five Berries in all grades, compared to 25 to 30 of the Four Berries type. This particular coin is certified in the seldom-seen (but highly sought after) AU58+ grade at NGC, with the added Star designation, as mentioned. As a further indication of conditional rarity, a search through our Permanent Auction Archives reveals that only five times in the previous 16 years have we offered higher-graded (i.e. Mint State) examples of this variety. This piece's generous eye appeal is further enhanced by a bold strike on a well-centered planchet. Few marks of any significance appear, although there is a small planchet lamination just below Liberty's ear. This eminently collectible early quarter eagle is from the earlier of two known die states, showing no discernible die cracks. NGC population data show this piece to be the only AU58 + (the Star notwithstanding), with six numerically finer (8/14). Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $70500.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.