1801 $10 Draped Bust Large Eagle NGC AU58

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The obverse of this Type is the same as the previous one, except that there are 16 stars on the obverse, 10 along the left edge, and six along the right edge. All other devices remain the same. The central device on the reverse is the heraldic eagle, a Union shield on its chest, holding arrows in its right claw and an olive branch in its left. Arrayed around the eagle’s head are 13 stars, with clouds spreading from wing tip to wing tip. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the devices. Placing arrows in the eagle’s right claw was either a major blunder or a personal militaristic statement by the engraver. In heraldry the right claw, also known as the dexter claw, is the dominant of the two. The Great Seal of the United States, from which this design is taken, has an eagle holding an olive branch in the right claw symbolizing the nation’s great desire to live in peace. It is not known whether the erroneous placement of the arrows was intentional.

This new reverse was a marked improvement over the “scrawny” eagle seen on the Small Eagle Type. The first coin to display this new reverse was the quarter eagle of 1796.

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