1796 $2.50 No Stars MS (PCGS# 7645)


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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1796 $2 1/2 No Stars MS65 PCGS. Breen-1, Breen-6113, Bass-3002, BD-2, High R.4. Normal Arrows. Simply a phenomenal specimen of arguably the most important 18th century gold coin, this Gem PCGS-graded 1796 No Stars quarter eagle stands alone atop the PCGS population report, the single finest graded by three points. As of (11/07), that service has certified a total of six pieces in Mint State: two pieces in MS61, three coins in MS62, and the present MS65 specimen--and a specimen it is, in the broadest and best senses of the word. While it bears no special characteristics that would denote anything other than a "business strike" of a new gold denomination at the fledgling Philadelphia Mint, it shows obvious signs of both excellent production standards and subsequent loving preservation in its original state for more than 200 years. Interestingly, NGC has certified another dozen coins in Mint State, including 11 pieces spanning the range from MS60 to MS63--and including a sole MS65 piece that, while we cannot be sure, may represent the same coin before it was "crossed over" to PCGS. Barring future discoveries of some splendid piece, this MS65 coin is at least tied for finest known, and likely to remain that way. Conversely, if the NGC piece does turn out to be a duplicate, this coin is the finest known by a wide margin. While the 1796 With Stars quarter eagle--a Gem NGC-graded example of which Heritage is also privileged to offer in the present sale--is rarer as a variety, with an estimated mintage of 432 pieces versus 963 coins (both BD-1 and BD-2) for the 1796 No Stars, the With Stars quarter eagle is grouped as a type with the 1797-1807 With Stars issues, making the 1796 With Stars an extremely overlooked issue. But the 1796 No Stars is a nonpareil one-year gold type coin, the first year of issue for what is odds-on the rarest circulating U.S. gold denomination The quarter eagle was of little use in early American commerce, too large for daily transactions and too sm
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