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Select Mint State 1796 Quarter, B-1
The Tompkins Plate Coin

1796 25C MS63 NGC. B-1, R.4. The Tompkins plate coin. Tompkins Die State 3/3, a late example of the more elusive (very scarce) die pair for this one-year design type. Both sides show diagnostic die cracks of the advanced state; the 1 in the date has a crack at the left side on the obverse, while the reverse shows a spidery crack connecting the letters in OF. While a relative handful of Mint State 1796 quarters are available to modern collectors, the vast majority of them are of the more common (though still scarce) B-2 variety.
In fact, while this NGC-graded MS63 example would not make the Condition Census for the B-2 variety (as listed in Early United States Quarters by Tompkins, where all slots are taken up by MS64 and MS65 examples), as a B-1, it is a solid Condition Census coin. Its March 2004 ANR appearance ranks third, behind only the Eliasberg example and a "Choice BU Prooflike" coin offered by RARCOA in August 1980.
One need not be a specialist in early quarters to appreciate this Select example, of course; even type enthusiasts recognize the inherent condition rarity and appeal of a coin such as this. Significantly reflective fields shine through green-gold, aqua, and blue-gray toning, and well-defined devices are faintly frosted. The reverse has a number of crisscrossing adjustment marks that should not be interpreted as damage, and indeed will not be by the sophisticated collector, who will appreciate them as part of the coin's charm. For the two 1796 quarter varieties combined, Census: 7 in 63, 11 finer (2/11).
Ex: Stack's, March 1990; The Haig A. Koshkarian Type Set (ANR, 3/2004), lot 60.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 23RA, PCGS# 5310)

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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