1796 25C AU58 NGC....
Lovely 1796 B-2 Quarter, AU581796 25C AU58 NGC. B-2, R.3. The position of the 6 relative to the drapery is the diagnostic for attribution of the 1796 quarters. It is distant from the drapery (about centered between the drapery and border) on the Browning-1 die combination, and it is extremely close or nearly touching the drapery on the obverse of Browning-2. It appears the B-1 was struck before B-2 although Steve Tompkins suggests the opposite in his quarter reference. The three stages of the shared reverse die are given as perfect, clashed, and cracked, the crack from the top of F to the top of O. The late state crack is faintly visible on this B-2 quarter, and appears to be visible on the Tompkins plate coin as well.
Four delivery warrants for a total of 6,146 quarters were dated between April 9, 1796 and February 28, 1797. While it is impossible to exactly correlate varieties and original mintages, an attempt provides an interesting exercise. We know that there are about 150 surviving examples of 1796 B-1, and about 450 examples of B-2. Deliver warrants 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. Those estimates give a survival rate of 9.76%, consistent with the survival rates of other denominations. We know, for example, that about 10% of all 1796 quarter eagles still exist. Combining our estimates with the survival rate suggests an original production of 1,536 coins, reasonably close to the 1,800 coins of Warrant 61 that those may have been the B-1 quarters, the other 4,346 coins being the B-2 pieces.
This boldly defined near Mint State 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, but the remaining design motifs are sharp. Both sides have nearly full luster beneath light gold toning with traces of deeper peripheral iridescence. Census: 20 in 58, 30 finer (3/09).
From The Joseph C. Thomas Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 23RA, PCGS# 5310)
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