Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 60

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Lot 2759

1796 $2.50 Capped Bust. Stars. . BD-3, Breen-6114, Rarity-5+. NGC graded MS-61. Interesting clash marks on both sides as made. Untoned with reflective surfaces. A healthy dose of heavy golden luster enlivens the broad expanse of open surface on this With Stars Quarter Eagle struck the first year of issue. The fields are free from wear though do carry the odd mark or lint mark from its passage down through the years, for so modest a grade as MS61 it is very presentable. What's more, the strike is bold enough to warrant special attention. Careful scrutiny with a magnifying glass reveals the following minor points: a few tiny marks in the field to the left of Liberty; a slight depression in the field on the reverse above the arrow points with raised die polish lines above STATES (they occur behind the denticles and so are counted as an artifact of the die making process); no copper staining or spots, which is always a plus; a thin pin line from Liberty's lovelock to the throat; and a virtual 100% absence of adjustment marks. Rims are outstanding. In addition, the coin possesses a nice, clear-cut strike for all areas with outstanding detail at the hair and cap, the eagle, as well as all stars and legends. Despite its occasional poor cousin relationship to the No Stars one-year Type, advanced specialists in early gold realize the rarity of this issue in any grade and its desirability in Mint condition!

The stars are arranged 8 x 8 on this 16-star With Stars Quarter Eagle. Breen described the variety as "very rare," noting that the 432 pieces of the issue were delivered on Jan. 14, 1797. The newer Garrett-Guth Gold Encyclopedia says, "This subtype is somewhat rarer than the 1796 No Stars quarter eagle, yet it generally sells for much less in comparable grades. Most examples are in circulated condition, with a cluster at the About Uncirculated level that may represent some unreported resubmissions. Mint State examples are extremely rare; included among them is a single gem example. Late states of the dies show heavy lapping to remove clash marks."

The present specimen appears to be from early in the BD Die State e, the last state recorded in Dannreuther. It shows extensive cracks from star 1 through 8, and many others per the reference. The R in LIBERTY is quite strong (which is contrary to many observed examples where the R is decidedly weak to nonexistent), and die clash marks are noted on both sides. Brilliant yellow-gold coloration is present on both sides, as noted. For the early gold specialist, the significance of this incredible and historic early U.S. gold coin needs no further explanation. Pop 1; 11 finer, 6 in 62, 4 in 63, 1 in 65 (PCGS # 7647) .

Designed by Robert Scot, the 1796 quarter eagle features the capped head ("bust") of Liberty looking right. The field is plain, save for the date 1796 below the bust.

The reverse carries the Heraldic Eagle design similar to that used on gold and silver denominations of the 1800 era. Adapted from the Great Seal of the United States, the center motif depicts an eagle with a shield ("escutcheon") on its breast, holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons, and in its beak a ribbon inscribed E PLURIBUS UNUM. A "crest" of stars is above, with a row of clouds in an arc extending from one wing to the other. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds. There is no mark indicating the denomination.
Estimated Value $140,000 - 150,000.


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