Eagle $10 Small Stars Reverse NGC MS63. BD-3, MS63.
A High Grade, Sharply Struck Example Of This Popular
Early Type. 1803 $10 Small Stars Reverse MS63 NGC. Breen-6844,
Taraszka-28, BD-3, R.4. The 1803 Capped Bust Right,
Heraldic Eagle ten dollar gold piece boasts a small
mintage of 15,017 pieces. Six different die varieties
are known for this issue, with one obverse die used
in all six marriages. The reverse die used for BD-3
is characterized by the position of the eagle's beak
nearly touching the star below its point, and the right
foot of E in STATES positioned over a cloud space.
Mint State 1803 eagles are rarities,
even the "common" varieties. This specimen
is not one of the common varieties. It is an R-4 specimen.
NGC shows 18 examples of this issue at the MS63 level,
with nine finer; while PCGS has graded nine Choice specimens,
with only 11 finer . Duplicate stats are a given. (11/09).
Die marriages were of little interest
to collectors of the 19th century, and catalogers seldom
differentiated between varieties in their lot descriptions.
Numismatists became more conscious of these important
differences in the early part of the 20th century, and
auction catalogs began to describe the small stars reverse
in basic detail. In the Stickney Collection (Henry Chapman,
6/1907), lot 623, an 1803 eagle is described: "1803
R. Small stars. Extremely fine. Mint lustre. See plate."
The coin sold for $25, a good price at the time.
The present coin is sharply struck,
with complete detail on the feathers on the eagle's
breast. The surfaces display bright, satiny luster,
with attractive reddish patina on each side. A few light
obverse abrasions can be detected with a loupe. Rarity,
historic interest, and strong visual appeal combine
to make this offering an important opportunity for the
early gold specialist.
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