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1796 $2 1/2 NO STARS

Image Information

Type Coin
Title 1796 $2 1/2 NO STARS
Date 1796
Grade AU55
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 7645
Denomination 2 1/2

1796 $2 1/2 No Stars on Obverse, BD-2, R.4, AU55 NGC. Bass-Dannreuther Die State c/b. The Mint first struck quarter eagles in 1796, making this an in-demand first-year type. Two types exist, each produced from different dies. In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, John Dannreuther suggests that stars were at first omitted from the obverse because of the quarter eagle's small diameter, and that they were subsequently added to the new dies for aesthetic purposes. It is this first type without stars that has enduring popularity with collectors. The initial No Stars variety claims a mintage of 963 pieces and consists of two die pairs, BD-1 and BD-2. The former variant is the single-rarest quarter eagle variety from 1796 to 1834, with just six coins extant. BD-2 is the typically encountered variety, and about 100 to 125 examples exist. The lack of stars around the periphery gives this coin more of a medal-like appearance, the same as 1837 half dimes and dimes. Indeed, many people treated these like medals or charms, and today many survivors show signs of use in jewelry. This Choice example shows just the slightest trace of friction from use in the channels of commerce in late-18th century America. The surfaces are uncleaned (unusual for this issue) and each side shows light reddish patina. Strike definition is above average with softness on the lower hair curls that is typical of all coins from this die state. The envelope that accompanies this lot indicates Eric Newman paid $250 for this piece, with no recorded date of acquisition. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

Heritage Newman IX, November 2017, lot 15098, realized $144000. Images and description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Image Collection Eric P. Newman Collection, Part IX
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