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Desirable 1796 Quarter

1796 25C XF40 NGC. High 6. B-2, R.3. Two varieties are known for the Draped Bust, Small Eagle quarter dollar coinage, a single year design and the first year of issue for the denomination. The two varieties can be quickly distinguished by the position of the digit 6, high and almost touching the bust on this B-2 variety, and lower, nearly centered between the bust and border, on the rarer B-1 variety. The next quarter dollar issue, struck eight years later in 1804, has the new Heraldic Eagle design. Mintage of these early issues was limited with just 6,146 quarters produced in 1796 and 6,738 more in 1804. It is reasonable to assume that the 1796 calendar year mintage corresponds with the actual production of coins bearing the 1796 date. One researcher, Robert Hilt, claimed that the 1796 B-1 variety was actually struck in 1804! He further claimed that the survival rate for the early quarter dollars was only 1.32%, a figure that is much too low. His figures suggest that only about 170 quarter dollars survive from both years, 1796 and 1804. The actual survival rate is probably more in the order of 8% to 10%, or about 1,000 to 1,200 examples for both years.
The present example is an attractive, well balanced, copper-gray representative, perfectly centered, with strong dentils around both sides, which is typical for the issue. Faint mint luster still radiates from some of the recessed areas, and examination under a loupe reveals no marks worthy of singular mention. For possible pedigree purposes, we point out a small linear mark equidistant between star two and the dentils, and another just to the left of the middle of the right ribbon coming out of the bowknot. Nice definition is displayed in most of Liberty's hair, and in the eagle's wing feathers. A desirable coin sure to appeal to a number of audiences.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 23RA, PCGS# 5310)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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