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America’s First $10 Eagle In the realm of numismatics, the use of superlatives is often excessive. There are a handful of coins in American numismatics that truly merit legendary status and this is certainly one of them! During George Washington’s first term as our first President, the new nation was still struggling in its infancy to establish itself on the world stage. Traditionally, one of the surest ways to gain respect was to create currency or coinage that would demonstrate that there was indeed substance behind the flag. Even though the mint officially opened in 1793, it wasn’t until late 1795 that the largest denomination gold coin was created, the $10 “Eagle.” From a tiny initial mintage of just 5,583 pieces struck between September 27, 1795 through March 30, 1796, only a precious few survive today in mint state grades. If not for the efforts of passionate collectors who, at the time, were preserving a substantial amount of money at the time in the name of collecting and preserving for posterity, this piece would not be available today. It boasts a tremendous pedigree of past owners and is only exceeded in quality by a single piece; the MS66 Garrett specimen which is graded by PCGS. This magnificent example was purchased in 1942 by legendary collector, Louis Eliasberg who, to this day, is the only person to ever assemble a complete collection of every single U.S. coin ever made by date and mint mark. What is more remarkable is that he was also one of the early pioneers in seeking out quality and not just “filling in holes in the album.” This required great patience and a substantial bankroll, both of which he possessed. This piece was also owned by the famous Clapp family, specifically John H. Clapp a third generation collector who acquired it in 1909. The Clapps had connections within the Philadelphia mint which allowed them to frequently acquire coins as they came off the presses. They too, had an eye for quality. The two major varieties of 1795 eagles possess either 9 or 13 leaves being grasped by the representation of the American eagle on the coin’s reverse. If ever a coin were destined for immortality in all of American numismatics, this would certainly be a candidate. Truly a museum-quality specimen and destined for the finest of collections, this American heirloom could easily become the next coin to surpass the million-dollar mark when it next appears on the marketplace!