The 1798 Draped Bust Half Eagle (Buy on eBay) with the small eagle reverse represents an extremely rare variety of the series created through the pairing of obverse and reverse dies across multiple years.
The issue combines a new 1798-dated obverse die with a reverse die originally used to strike 1795-dated coins. In the early days of the Mint, it was not uncommon to reuse old dies are as a cost savings measure. Additionally, an emergency situation may have been created by the Yellow Fever epidemic, which had resulted in the closure of the Mint for periods during 1796 to 1798. This may have necessitated the use of older dies when new dies could not be created.
The original mintage of this variety remains unknown, but only eight pieces are confirmed to exist. The finest known example graded PCGS AU-55 sold for $1,175,000 in 2015.
- Designer: Robert Scot
- Composition: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Silver and Copper
- Weight: 8.75 grams
- Diameter: 25 mm
- Edge: Reeded