Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 36

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Lot 3669

1796 $2.50 Capped Bust. Stars. PCGS graded AU-55. Light gold toning including a toned spot at the cheek. Semi reflective surfaces. Very rare date. Only 432 coins struck. A highly lustrous example of this key issue with a nuance of pale orange toning on both sides, all of which is underpinned by full, only barely circulated freshness. Struck with fleeting weakness that imported a some rounded detail in the cap and hair, the eagle's chest feathers and shield lines.

This coin has two distinctions: It is the first ever to show the heraldic eagle, which would become standard on all silver and gold denominations 1798-1807; it is the earliest made showing 16 reverse stars honoring Tennessee's admission. During this whole decade, quarter eagles were coined only in isolated driblets of a few hundred or at most a few thousand pieces. In several of these years, each date represented a new design modification -- creating instant rarities and type coins. The problem is less why the coins are rare, why so few were made to begin with, but why any were struck at all. To judge from available Archives records, they were ordered by a few local banks (principally the Bank of Pennsylvania and the Bank of the United States). Between 1803 and 1833, the Mint's major output consisted of cents, half dollars, and half eagles; all other denominations had a kind of poor sister status -- seldom called for, few made, little welcome. Hence their rarity today in all grades. Pop 4; 6 in AU58; 1 in 61; 1 in 62; 1 in 63. (PCGS # 7647) .
Estimated Value $90,000 - 100,000.

Realized $123,625

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