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1796 Draped Bust Quarter, B-2, AU58
First Date of Denomination, Only Date of Type
Low Mintage of 6,146 Pieces

1796 25C AU58 NGC. B-2, R.3. As the first date of the denomination, the 1796 Draped Bust quarter is an important issue for both date and type collectors. The fact that it is the only quarter to employ the Small Eagle reverse design makes it doubly important as a type coin. Finally, the low mintage of 6,146 pieces has intrigued numismatists from the earliest days of the hobby. Only two die varieties are known for the date, with this coin representing the more available B-2 variety, with the high 6 in the date.
Experts estimate the surviving population of the B-2 variety at about 450 pieces, with a surprising number of specimens in high grade. It is likely that there was a hoard of these coins saved by some financial institution as currency reserves, although that function was usually performed by the half dollar denomination. There was little call for quarters in the American economy before 1857, because of the supply of Spanish 2 Reales pieces that circulated with the same value. Depositors of silver bullion typically preferred to redeem their deposits in the larger half dollar coins.
Delivery warrants for 1796 quarters were dated April 9 (1,800), May 27 (2,530), June 14 (1,564), and February 28, 1797 (252) for a total mintage of 6,146 quarters. It is now generally believed that the B-2 quarters were struck before the B-1 examples, and the B-2 variety is encountered much more frequently, so perhaps the first two deliveries were B-2 coins, while the fourth delivery, and at least part of the third, were of the B-1 type.
This boldly defined near-Mint piece has a trace of high point wear, but overall it presents exceptional eye appeal. A hint of weakness is evident at the eagle's head, as almost always seen on the B-2, but the remaining design motifs are sharp. Both sides have nearly full luster beneath light gold toning with traces of deeper peripheral iridescence. A minor rim bruise shows at 3 o'clock on the obverse. This coin possesses the strongest possible historic significance, relatively high technical grade, and strong visual appeal. Census: 17 in 58, 28 finer (4/12).
Ex: Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2009), lot 2308, realized $51,750.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 23RA, PCGS# 5310)

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Auction Dates
May-Jun, 2012
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