1796 $2 1/2 No Stars AU58 PCGS. Bass-3002, R.5. There are ...
Prized 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle AU581796 $2 1/2 No Stars AU58 PCGS. Bass-3002, R.5. There are two known die marriages of the 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle and they are most easily distinguished by the proximity of the eagle's left (facing) talon to the U in UNITED. The premier Quarter Eagle issue also holds several other "firsts." It is the first U.S. coin to display a heraldic eagle on the reverse, the first to display sixteen reverse stars in honor of Tennessee's admission to the Union, and the first precious metal coin struck prior to 1836 with no obverse stars. Of course, the 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle is also well known as a rare one-year type with an original mintage of just 963 pieces. All of these coins were delivered to the Bank of the United States, the institution that most likely deposited the bullion for coinage.
The contracts that resulted in the Mint's production of 66 No Stars examples on September 22, 1796 and a further 897 pieces on December 8 of the same year seem to have stipulated very short turn around times between deposit of the bullion and delivery of the coins. This probably explains why so many extant 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagles display signs of hasty workmanship. Unevenness of strike prevails with the centers being particularly soft in detail. On some coins planchet problems are seen. Of course, such considerations are secondary when one considers the awesome rarity of this issue.
This near-Mint representative, while a bit soft over the major design elements, is actually a bit sharper than normally seen. Rich rose-violet patina covers all but the more protected areas of the obverse, while the green-gold reverse has only blushes of coppery patina on the highpoints. Any offering of this prized Quarter Eagle rarity is certain to inspire considerable interest among serious collectors of U.S. coins and Americana. Population: 27 in 58, 6 finer (7/04).(#7645) (Registry values: P10) (NGC ID# 25F2, PCGS# 7645)
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