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1796 25C B-1, MS

Image Information

Type Coin
Title 1796 25C B-1, MS
Date 1796
Grade MS64
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 38919
Denomination 25C

1796 25C B-1, R.4, MS64+ NGC. CAC. The quarter dollars of 1796 consist of two varieties, based on different obverse dies. The low 6 in the date, placement of the second curl from the left atop Liberty's head directly beneath the upright of E in LIBERTY, third curl completely below R, and star 15 close to the bust attribute the rarer B-1 variety. Authors Rory Rea, Glenn Peterson, Bradley Karoleff, and John Kovach chose this specimen for the plate coin illustrating the B-1 variety in their 2010 reference Early Quarter Dollars of the United States Mint. Graded MS63+ at the time, it had the second highest grade of the 15 B-1 Mint State pieces in the condition census listed by Rea-Polizio-Moulton. However, Steve Tompkins, in his 2008 Early United States Quarter book, failed to include this specimen in his eight-coin B-1 condition census. More recently, NGC reports 12 B-1 submissions, the highest being MS64+ (the present coin). PCGS shows three B-1 examples, a Fair 2, VG10, and SP66 (7/17). The 1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle quarter saw a mintage of only 6,146 pieces, and is under intense demand by type, date, and variety collectors. A relatively large number of the issue grades AU to Uncirculated, presumably having been saved by bankers, legislators, merchants, or well-to-do citizens. NGC and PCGS report 171 AU-Uncs from 572 total submissions (30 percent). These apparently underpinned the false rumor that "Col." E.H. R. Green once owned a hoard of 100 to 200 Mint State 1796 quarters. Conversely, a large number circulated, evidenced by the 231 Poor-VG certified examples (40 percent). This high-end near-Gem ranks among the most beautiful and aesthetically appealing of known 1796 quarter dollars. Reddish-purple, electric-blue, and gold toning clings to the borders, transitioning to yellowish-green toward the centers where it blends with aqua-blue on the obverse and soft silver-gray on the reverse. The surfaces of each side are almost wholly prooflike. Sharply struck design elements complement the magnificent toning. Liberty's hair strands and all curls are well-delineated, as are the eye pupil and drapery folds. The eagle's head is much better struck than seen on most other 1796 quarter dollars, revealing crisp eye detail and a full tongue. A few as-made adjustment marks are visible, a typical characteristic of early United States silver and gold coins. Light ones are seen in the dentils of the upper-left obverse quadrant, and heavier ones reside in Liberty's hair below the ear and on the eagle's head, right (facing) leg, and clouds. In summary, the legendary pedigree of this 1796 quarter, its magnificent toning, sharply struck devices, and pleasing overall eye appeal assure it will become the centerpiece of a high-grade, advanced collection. Ex: "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp and Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $125.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

Heritage Newman IX, November 2017, lot 15083, realized $264000. Images and description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Image Collection Eric P. Newman Collection, Part IX
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