To view more detailed information on the collection click hereDie Variety: Wide Date, 5 Berries reverse. The obverse stars are arranged 6 X 7. Two reverse dies are known for 1798 quarter eagles. This one has five berries in the branch, the other has four berries, making them easy to distinguish. A much smaller digit 8 punch was used for the date than in the 179 digits, which allowed it to fit just below Liberty's bust and the rim, rather than overlapping the bust as seen on the 1796 coins.This year introduces a new master hub for the reverse dies. This hub differs from the prior 1796-era reverse hub by showing the eagle with a shorter neck, no tongue, and the clouds are better defined, as is the scroll lettering. Additional changes include six vertical stripes each defined by three fine lines rather than a thick line, with open areas starting and ending on the shield for a total of 13 space-line places for the original colonies; the eagle has a single claw over the arrows, has three rows of tail feathers, and a single claw over the branch.This is one of the first appearances of the arc arrangement of the stars over the eagle, although two other reverse dies are known with a hybrid of the star cross design and the arc star arrangement, notably the 1798 BD-1 and the 1804 BD-2 with 14 reverse stars.Die State: Early die state struck prior to the cracks forming on the obverse. In fact both dies exhibit considerable die polish and reflectivity in the fields, as commonly seen on early strikes. This obverse die was engraved to replace that of the BD-1 variety obverse of this year after it failed.Estimated mintage for the variety: Believed to be between 480 and 838 coins of the 1,094 pieces reportedly struck of the date. (Precise figures are unknown for nearly all federal coins of this era, as usable dies were often held over to the next year.)Estimated surviving population: 45 to 55 coins.Strike: The strike is remarkably bold throughout, with much of the original mirror-like surface preserved in the fields. Details are sharp on the central curls on Liberty, as well as the shield lines on the reverse. On this master hub Scot was able to engrave the letters of E PLURIBUS UNUM so that they would be well defined on coins, as seen here. Prior coins struck from dies engraved using the Gardner hub frequently show softness on the US (PLURIBUS) left of the eagle's neck. Surfaces: Warm and lustrous golden surfaces exhibit ample reflectivity on the obverse and reverse. Commentary: After the failure of the obverse die of 1798 on the BD-1 variety, which developed a major cud break from the base of the 1 to the first three stars, a new obverse die was engraved to make the BD-2 variety so coinage could continue. Why the reverse die from BD-1 was not used is unknown. Perhaps it also broke or was simply retired.Q. David Bowers: Reviewing and presenting the Ferrendelli quarter eagles is very rewarding to me. Only when great collections are sold do such opportunities occur.