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1798 Draped Bust Dollar

Small Eagle, 15 Stars


Variety BB-81, B-2 - PCGS MS62

  Obverse: Variety BB-81, B-2 - PCGS MS62

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Reverse: Variety BB-81, B-2 - PCGS MS62

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Mintage of the Draped Bust/Small Eagle type continued on into the first part of 1798; however, still fewer pieces were minted.  Just 2 different obverse dies and 2 different reverse dies were used, and these combined to create 2 different individual die varieties.  In this case, one obverse bears 15 stars and the other bears 13 stars.

It is thought that the obverse die for the 15 Stars type was a holdover from earlier years, prepared (though left undated) sometime prior to the summer of 1796, when Tennessee became the 16th state of the Union and an additional star was added to United States coin designs.  Later, when pressed into service in 1798, the die was finished with the 1798 date, and a small group of coins were produced.

Specimens of the 15 Stars sub-type are quite rare, especially in high grades.  In this case, the Mint again showed its frugality by re-using (for one final time) that old small lettered reverse die kept around since 1795.  Now on its final use, the reverse die was really showing its weakness, and thus specimens of this type always show their reverses FAR weaker than their obverses.

At MS62, the Cardinal Collection specimen ranks as the single finest 1798 small eagle dollar (and the ONLY mint state 1798 small eagle dollar) ever graded by PCGS.

Tracing its provenance to the renowned Eliasberg collection, this specimen is wonderfully struck and attractively toned and lustrous on the obverse.  The reverse displays the normal blunt strike of the variety, with a relatively flat breast to the eagle.  However, the eagle's wings remaining perfectly well feathered, and the wreath displays were excellent sharpness.


Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation
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