Mint State 1797 Heraldic Eagle Gold $10 Featured in Winter Expo Auction

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is excited to offer a 1797 Capped Bust Right, Heraldic Eagle $10 gold eagle graded MS-62 by PCGS with CAC approval as lot 4008 in our Winter Showcase 2022 Auction. This coin, from the Harvey B. Jacobson Collection, is distinguished by its strong eye appeal and state of preservation and its reverse die state, which is quite a bit more advanced than the vast majority of other examples of the BD-2 die marriage.

1797 marked a transition from the Small to Heraldic Eagle reverse designs, and the Bass-Dannreuther 2 die marriage is one of three known for the 1797 Heraldic Eagle $10. The mintage is thought to have numbered 8,750 to 12,500 (10,940 is a figure often cited) and 80 to 100 pieces from an estimated mintage of 3,500 to 5,000 from the BD-2 dies are estimated to survive. This die marriage is also cataloged as Taraszka-8, Breen 2-B, and HBCC-3177. 

All 1797 gold eagles share a common obverse die, which when used to strike the presented coin was in Die State b, evidenced by die cracks in the 7 of the date. 16 stars encircle Liberty’s bust on the obverse, reflecting the states which at that point comprised the Union. The 13 stars which appear above the eagle and below the arcing clouds on the reverse represent the 13 original colonies.

The reverse die state was advanced, cataloged as Die State C, when the coin was struck. This die state is remarkable, described by our cataloger: “The die has been lapped, removing the rust lump on top of the second letter T in STATES, thinning some of the letters in the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, removing the tiny die rust lumps in the field between the words STATES and OF and the sharp spike-like projection from the second denticle to the left of the letter O in OF, and truncating many of the dentils, especially those along the upper border. In particular, the dentils above the letter E in STATES are noticeably shorter and weaker. The die crack between the words STATES and OF to cloud 5 is bolder than seen on the Die State b example offered above, and it extends faintly into the star field.”

Our experts/catalogers believe that this is the second confirmed example of Die State C, making this a prize for collectors interested in early Federal gold die states.

This coin is one of 15 of the date graded MS-62 by PCGS, with only eight finer pieces reported in the service’s census; a single BD-2 variety is reported in MS-62. Its green CAC sticker underscores its appeal; only two other 1797 Heraldic Eagle gold eagles in this grade have received CAC approval.  

The coin’s eye appeal is strong, with abundant rose orange color and subtle reddish-apricot toning around the obverse’s periphery. Luster is present around the peripheral devices. Light handling marks and carbon spots on the obverse are really the only qualities that detract at all from the superb appearance of this notable coin.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to be offering Harvey Jacobson’s complete collection of 1795-1804 $10 gold eagles in the Winter 2022 Showcase Auction. For more information call 800-458-4646 or email

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