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Choice Very Fine 1796 No Stars Two and a Half, BD-2

1796 $2 1/2 No Stars VF35 PCGS. Breen-6113, BD-2, R.4. The 1796 No Stars quarter eagle is a classic American rarity, a coin from a year rife with numismatic delicacies. The year 1796 was a momentous one in the history of the early U.S. Mint. It is distinguished as the only year from 1793 through 1849 that the Mint struck every statutorily authorized denomination, from copper half cent through gold eagle.
Among the many coin delights produced in this year are the 1796 No Pole half cent, the 1796 15 Stars and 16 Stars half dollars (a two-year type), the 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle quarter (a one-year type), and the first-year 1796 No Stars and With Stars quarter eagles, of which the No Stars is also a one-year type.
The year holds sufficient fascination that at least one collector, known as "Mr. 1796," John Whitney Walter or simply John Whitney, assembled a monumental collection that includes many of the finest pieces from the year, a wonderful assemblage auctioned by Stack's in May 1999.
Of all the rarities produced in the Mint's fourth year of operation, however, the 1796 No Stars quarter eagle likely tops the list for most collectors. Even the fabulously rare 1796 and 1797 half dollars bearing the "½" denomination come in two years and four die pairings, and while the 1796 quarter is a one-year type, it is silver, and the 1804 quarter is actually much rarer in high grade. For a complete gold type set, the 1796 No Stars quarter eagle is simply a must-have coin.
The 1796 quarter eagles are sometimes called the Capped Bust to Right or Turban Head design. Numismatists guess that the mintage of No Stars quarter eagles was a minuscule 963, which is, amazingly, shared between two varieties, the High R.7 BD-1 Extended Arrows and the R.4 BD-2 Normal Arrows. This piece is the BD-2, Normal Arrows variety.
The surfaces show even wear over each side. A few shallow scratches can be made out with a magnifier in the left obverse field but are not apparent without a loupe. Attractive reddish-gold color.
From The Charleston Collection.(Registry values: P10) (NGC ID# 25F2, PCGS# 7645)

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Auction Dates
June, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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