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    1796 Quarter Eagle in White Metal
    Judd-23a, Private Restrike, MS63

    1796 $2 1/2 Quarter Eagle, Judd-23a, Private Restrike, Pollock-6035, Unique, MS63 PCGS. Ex: Simpson. This piece might appear to be a dies trial strike, but it is actually a 1796 quarter eagle struck in white metal from rusted dies. Undoubtedly it was produced either by Joseph Mickley or Montroville Dickeson from dies sold as scrap by the Mint. The Judd reference puts the striking of this piece is its proper perspective:

    "There are no known patterns dated 1796, although this was a pivotal year for the introduction of new denominations -- the dime, quarter dollar, and quarter eagle. Without doubt, different trial pieces must have been made for the new denominations. No records of any exist today. [This] piece ... is a later restrike that bears the date 1796, but has no connection with true patterns of that year."

    Joseph Mickley would seem like the most likely suspect for the production of this piece. Mickley was well known for his purchase of old dies from the Mint and later restriking of various fanciful pieces. In his defense, the die rust on his various concoctions is so extensive that there is no comparable coin struck in the year of issue that it could be confused with. In other words, there was no intent to deceive. Nor was this piece intended to deceive anyone. The illogical combination of extensive die rust on an off-metal strike, presumably made prior to regular coin production, simply does not make sense. As Dr. Judd stated, " ... different trial pieces must have been made for the new denominations." This restrike gives us an idea what such a trial piece might have looked like. The surfaces are softly defined on each side. The white metal itself is surprisingly well preserved with only slight, uniform mellowing to a medium gray color. This is an interesting piece that would fit into many different collections. It could certainly find a home in a pattern collection, or just as easily in a set of early quarter eagles or a set of 1796 coinage. This piece's unique status is hard to argue with and it will certainly bring a commanding price when sold this summer.
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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2020
    17th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,623

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