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    1796 With Stars Quarter Eagle, BD-3, AU58
    Rare First-Year, One-Year Type With 16 Star Obverse

    1796 $2 1/2 Stars AU58 NGC. CAC. BD-3, High R.5. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c. The first-year-of-type 1796 No Stars quarter eagle gets the lion's share of attention for the date and denomination, but the 1796 With Stars quarter eagle is in reality even rarer, grade for grade, than its No Stars counterpart. For years numismatists have believed that the 1796 No Stars was struck to the extent of 963 pieces (including the usually seen BD-2 Normal Arrows reverse and the very rare BD-1 Extended Arrows reverse), along with 432 pieces for the 1796 With Stars, known -- as expected for such a low production figure -- from a single die pair. What is unexpected is how many distinct die states are identified for the 1796 With Stars quarter eagle: John Dannreuther lists five in his reference. The dies apparently cracked early and were lapped, likely more than once, and also clashed together, again possibly multiple times. The U.S. Mint had an extremely difficult time with the early gold coinage dies beginning in 1796, explaining the low mintages overall and likely the small number known of this variety in particular. This near-Mint State NGC-certified example is Die State c, showing die lapping that has weakened the earlier die crack connecting the left-side peripheral stars, but in the process also resulted in some lost detail on the lower hair curls of Liberty.

    The 1796 With Stars quarter eagle is a one-year type as well, although often unacknowledged as such, showing the only 16 Star Obverse among the early quarter eagles. Mint officials soon realized the folly of continually adding stars after Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796, as the 16th state; coinage dies soon reverted to the 13 Star format, with scattered exceptions.

    This piece is just a trace of high-point rub away from Mint State. The attractive auburn-gold field colors contrast nicely against the brighter yellow-gold of the raised devices. A small area of planchet adjustment marks appears on the reverse rim, above and behind TAT. A few small field marks appear scattered about, but none are worthy of singular mention. This rare early U.S. gold coin from the first year of quarter eagle production at the U.S. Mint should see abundant collector interest.
    Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.(Registry values: P10) (NGC ID# BFVN, PCGS# 7647)

    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
    November, 2014
    14th-15th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,438

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman (softcover)
    A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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