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    1796 With Stars Quarter Eagle, BD-3
    Important Early U.S. Gold Type Coin

    1796 $2 1/2 Stars PCGS Genuine. Breen-6114, BD-3, High R.5. Bass-Dannreuther obverse state c/reverse state b. The 1796 With Stars is a somewhat underrated issue despite its obvious rarity, overshadowed by the illustrious 1796 No Stars quarter eagle. Tennessee entered the Union on June 1, 1796, and the 1796 With Stars is the only obverse in the quarter eagle series that commemorates that event with 16 stars--making it a one-year type coin, just like the 1796 No Stars. The obverse stars are arranged eight and eight on each side of LIBERTY. The 6 in the date, at its top loop, is well up into the lower bust. The event is actually noted on both sides, as the 1796 With Stars also has 16 stars on the reverse, jammed in around the eagle's head and below the clouds. John Dannreuther writes of the BD-3:

    "This date is also a major type variety of the Stars type, as it is the only obverse found with 16 stars. This fact has generally been ignored in numismatic literature, as the rarity of the date makes it a 'stopper' for most collectors, who only obtain a type coin of this series. Another ignored major type variety is the reverse found only for 1796 and 1797. The 'Tall Neck' reverse with 16 stars was replaced by the 'Short Neck' reverse in 1798. Most researchers have merely noted the eight versus six vertical stripes in the shield and 16 versus 13 stars around the eagle's head. Little mention has also been made of the eight arrows with three visible claws for the Reverse of 1796 and one visible claw around the bundle of 10 arrows for the Reverse of 1798."

    The present example is thus an important, and possibly relatively affordable specimen of this major early U.S. gold type. The PCGS number ending in .94 suggests Altered Surfaces as the reason, or perhaps one of the reasons, that PCGS deemed this coin not gradable. In our opinion, this coin has the details of an AU specimen whose obverse fields have been smoothed. The only adjustment marks are light and short, and they are restricted to the right obverse margin. On the reverse, there is a trailing scratch from the rim to below the U in UNITED, and a shallow pinscratch appears below the T in UNITED. Heavy die polishing appears on the upper reverse through TATE. There are no obvious surface flaws otherwise, and much pleasing detail remains. The reverse is brighter overall than the obverse, which shows a slight bit of reddish patina but is somewhat subdued.(Registry values: P10, N10) (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 Dates
    September, 2009
    10th-13th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
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