$132,000 small eagle flying high at Heritage's FUN rare coin auction



2015-06-26 12:28:41

$132,000 small eagle flying high at Heritage's FUN rare coin auction

Dating back to 1797, the exceptionally rare $5 piece sold to a keen collector over the phone

Heritage's FUN auctions are always greatly anticipated by coin collectors and investors, and the most recent was no exception.

The 1797 BD-3 $5 Small Eagle was, as expected, the star of the show. It had been rated at AU53 by the NGC.

The patriotic coin, which was produced at a time when the nation was still in its infancy after gaining independence in 1776, depicts an eagle holding a wreath on one side, with Liberty portrayed as a woman on the reverse.

1797 Liberty coin

The obverse is perfect, apparently as always, while the reverse has a die crack from the tail feathers to the right (facing) wing, and another from the border at 6 o'clock to the leaves and inside of the right (facing) leg. No other die cracks or defects are known.

Expert John Dannreuther suggests a surviving population in the range of 20 to 25 coins. Four die varieties are known among the 1797 Small Eagle coins, and BD-3 is the most plentiful of the four, with a combined survival of no more than 50 pieces.

Examples hold pride of place in great collections. The Smithsonian Institution has two pieces, and the Norweb Collection had a pleasing XF coin.

This one had been a part of the collection of Abner Kreisberg and Jerry Cohen until 1973, and was given a guide value price of $75,000, but keen bidders pressed further, only stopping at $132,250 when it was sold to a phone bidder.

Watch this space for more news of this exciting auction.

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