1800 Half Eagle (BD-5, R-3+) PCGS
AU58 (Ex Bass). Beautiful early half eagle which was
a part of the famous Bass Collection.
The obverse die was previously used
to strike several different varieties, and is easily
identified by a blunt 1 in the date. This is the last
use of this die, as a bisecting die crack developed
while in use. This is an earlier obverse die state,
with no die cracks yet visible.
The reverse die was only used for
this variety, and is easily identified by the star
touching the back of the eagle’s head. Soon
after striking, die cracks developed and the reverse
die state soon became terminal. In their reference,
Bass-Dannreuther estimate a total mintage of 7,500
to 12,500 coins from these dies, which would mean
the majority of 1800 half eagles were struck using
this die combination. The remaining examples of this
date also seem to indicate this.
The present coin once belonged to
the famous collection of Harry W. Bass Jr. In the
core collection, most of the varieties he owned still
remain, with the balance being sold over several famous
auctions in the 1990’s. Due to an oversight
however, this particular die variety was not saved,
and thus this is your chance to obtain a coin from
this famous collection.
Prooflike fields, especially so on
the reverse are an indication of this early die state.
The obverse die was most likely also polished before
being put into use again. Only the slightest friction
on the highest points keeps this coin out of a mint-state
holder. However, the grading companies do not always
limit coins on that point, and this coin looks just
as good as many mint-state pieces. Slight adjustment
marks, as made, are seen on the obverse that is remarkably