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    Description

    Legendary 1796 No Stars Capped Bust Right Quarter Eagle, A Mint State Survivor of this Classic U.S. Rarity

    1796 $2 1/2 No Stars MS60 NGC. Bass-3002, R.5. The first Quarter Eagle in U.S. coinage history also holds several other "firsts." It is the first U.S. coin to display a heraldic eagle on the reverse, the first to display sixteen reverse stars in honor of Tennessee's admission to the Union, and the first precious metal coin struck prior to 1836 with no obverse stars. Of course, the 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle is also well known as a rare one-year type with an original mintage of just 963 pieces. All of these coins were delivered to the Bank of the United States, the institution that most likely deposited the bullion for coinage.
    The contracts that resulted in the Mint's production of 66 No Stars examples on September 22, 1796 and a further 897 pieces on December 8 of the same year seem to have stipulated very short turn around times between deposit of the bullion and delivery of the coins. This probably explains why so many extant 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagles display signs of hasty workmanship. Unevenness of strike prevails with the centers being particularly soft in detail. On some coins planchet problems are seen. Of course, such considerations are secondary when one considers the awesome rarity of this issue. In other words, collectors should be honored to own any 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle even if it is not expertly produced or particularly well preserved.
    There are two known die marriages of the 1796 No Stars Two-and-a-Half, and they are most easily distinguishable by the proximity of the eagle's left (facing) talon to the U in UNITED. As of 1988, Bass-3003 was represented by just four coins (per Walter Breen). This Bass-3002 example exhibits the aforementioned striking anomaly (unevenness) with the central highpoints noticeably soft. A few adjustment marks (as made) are seen over Liberty's portrait, and a lamination (also as produced) connects the eye to the back of the cap. The latter should serve as a useful pedigree marker. The outward appearance is one of green-gold color and an appreciable prooflike finish. The surfaces are a little scuffy, but there are really no singularly distracting abrasions. Both major grading services report only 16 Mint State representatives of this issue (1/03), a total that may include some resubmissions. (NGC ID# 25F2, PCGS# 7645)

    Weight: 4.37 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2003
    1st-3rd Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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