||1797 $10 Large Eagle MS61 NGC. BD-2, High R.4. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b/b. BD-2 is one of the two more easily obtainable varieties of the 1797 Large Eagle ten dollar gold issue, the other being BD-4, though its availability is only in relation to the BD-3 variety, which is rare. Dannreuther estimates as few as 80 examples of BD-2 survive, making the variety challenging in its own right. The same obverse was used to strike all three Large Eagle varieties, but BD-2 is the only use of this reverse, which is characterized in part by a long, thin neck on the eagle. This was the first Large Eagle reverse die employed for coinage in 1797, and it is likely that it was also the first Large Eagle die made. The year 1797 was a transitional year for the reverse design of the gold eagle. The first 1797 die pair featured the original Small Eagle reverse, employing a leftover 1796 die for coinage. Soon after, a new reverse motif was introduced (also on the other then-circulating denominations) featuring a rendition of the Great Seal of the United States, which showed a much larger, majestic eagle. As a date, this Large Eagle variant of the 1797 ten dollar piece is significantly scarcer than the two most frequently encountered issues, the 1799 and 1801, but it is obtainable for the type collector seeking to deviate from the more "common" issues of the type. Certified at the MS61 grade level, this piece ranks among the few Mint State examples known. The strike is bold, with strong borders and impressive central definition, particularly on the reverse. This issue is often seen with a "two-faced" appearance, exhibiting an exceedingly attractive, well-made reverse and a less impressive obverse, and this piece reflects that characteristic to a certain degree. The obverse shows original honey-gold color and minimally abraded surfaces, though numerous faint, crisscrossing adjustment marks slightly inhibit the reflectivity in the fields. The reverse, however, is a textbook example of "eye appeal." Rich coppery-orange hues surround the margins, while the center is suffused with pleasing yellow-gold color. Substantial prooflike mirroring is seen in the fields, and no adjustment marks are observed. Overall, this is a very pleasing example of the scarce BD-2 variety. Census: 27 in 61, 16 finer (8/14). Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $44062.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.