1798 Capped Bust Right Quarter Eagle. BD-1. Rarity-5+. Die State b. Close Date, 4 Berries. AU-50 (NGC).
Rare 1798 Close Date, 4 Berries Reverse Quarter Eagle
Seldom Offered In Any Grade
To view more detailed information on the collection click here
Die Variety: The obverse die is known as the "Close Date" for the narrow spacing of the digits of the date. The 8 punch is much smaller than the 179 digit punches, which allows it to fit in the small space between the edge and Liberty's bust, otherwise the 8, if it were the same size as the 179 punches, would overlap the bust. The reverse die has the hybrid star cross and arc star arrangement above the eagle that employs very large stars, and the branch displays only four berries.
Die State: Die state a. The obverse is an early die state as no trace of the crack has appeared through the date and stars to the left, similar on the reverse, which shows no cracks or signs of clashing. This is the usual die state seen for this rarity.
Mintage: 250 to 550 coins is one estimate (from the 1,094 struck of the date).
Estimated surviving population: 25 to 30 coins.
Strike: The strike is sharp on all devices on the obverse. On the reverse the eagle is bold save for areas where the hub was not deeply punched into the die or was lapped. A hint of nearly horizontal adjustment marks is noted on the central reverse.
Surfaces: The surfaces are remarkably smooth for the grade, and only light wear is found on the highest points of the design. There is a tiny attached planchet flake at Liberty's nose noted for identification. The rapid failure of the obverse die soon formed a massive cud from the base of the 1 up to the left touching the first four stars, and accounting for the rarity. The reverse die was discarded as well, although no coins are known that show any significant problems with that die.
Commentary: There are only two reverse dies in the early quarter eagle series that show the "star cross" pattern above the eagle, this one used in 1798, and the other that appears in 1804 on the 14 star reverse quarter eagle. Some have suggested the reverse die used in 1804 was a leftover die from 1798, as that seems to be the point of engraving based on this star pattern. Late in 1798 Scot used the arc star pattern that fit the stars into the space in a much neater arrangement than the linear layout of the star cross pattern.
Q. David Bowers: A full run of Guide Book-listed quarter eagles is a fascinating challenge to complete, the key being the 1804 with 13 reverse stars. For a real challenge, do as Dr. Ferrendelli did and try to obtain one of each die variety. Be prepared to spend more than a decade and even then not obtain them all. The present sale is the first time in numismatic history that a complete variety collection has crossed the auction block!
PCGS# 97649. NGC ID: 25F5.
Pedigree: From the Dr. James A. Ferrendelli Collection.
NGC Census: 1; just 17 finer for the date.
Click here for PCGS
Click here for NGC Coin Explorer