Production of the Capped Bust Eagle took place from 1795 to 1804. The mintages were erratic, with less than 2,000 coins struck in 1798 and more than 40,000 struck in 1801. There were no coins dated 1802 produced. The series features two distinct reverse designs. The first, used from 1795 to 1797, features a small eagle. The second, used from 1797 until the end of the series in 1804, features a heraldic eagle.
The most ‘common’ issue of this type is usually considered to be the 1801, with a mintage of 44,344 coins. Interestingly, that year is represented by only two different die varieties. For 1799, which had a somewhat similar mintage of 37,449 coins, comes with a total of ten different die varieties, the majority of which are rare to very rare. This indicates that the quality of the dies at the early Mint certainly was improving at the time.
In earlier years, the Mint had a large problem with the life-span of the dies, which often broke early and did not last long after being put into production. As die steel was expensive and not always available, the fact that some dies lasted long enough to produce tens of thousands of coins confirms that the Mint was certainly improving at the time. It becomes even more surprising that one of the reverse dies was first paired with a 1799 obverse die, then an 1800 obverse die, and finally an 1801 reverse die.
|Small Eagle 1795-1797|
|Heraldic Eagle 1797-1804|
|1798 (9 stars left, 4 right)||900|
|1798 (7 stars left, 6 right)||842|
|1804 proof restrike||4 known|