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SERIES: Draped Bust $2 1/2 1796-1807
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1796 $2.50 No Stars (Regular Strike)

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PCGS MS62+

PCGS MS62

PCGS MS61
PCGS #:
7645
Diameter:
20.00 millimeters
Designer:
Robert Scot
Weight:
4.37 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
963
Metal Content:
91.7% Gold, 8.3% Copper
Auction Record:
$1,725,000 • PCGS MS65 • 1-1-2008 • Heritage
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Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Estimate 
Numismatic
Rarity 
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 88 R-8.1 1 / 1 8 / 12
60 or Better 7 R-9.6 1 / 1 5 / 12 TIE
65 or Better 1 R-10.0 1 / 1 1 / 12 TIE
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS65 PCGS grade  

Lorin Parmelee Collection - New York Coin and Stamp Co. 6/1890:719 - Col. Robert C.H. Brock Collection - University of Pennsylvania - Philip H. Ward, Jr. Collection - Stack's 5/1964:1660, $7,750 - Lelan Rogers Collection - Stack’s “Numisma '95” 11/1995:1498, $605,000 - American Numismatic Rarities 6/2005:1002, $1,380,000 -  Madison Collection - Heritage 1/2008:3058, $1,725,000

2 MS64 estimated grade  
3 MS62+ PCGS grade

James Swan Collection - American Numismatic Rarities 7/2004:82, $345,000 - Stack's 7/2008:2324, $488,750 - Bob R. Simpson Collection

3 MS62 PCGS grade

Harold P. Newlin, sold privately on 10/31/1884 - T. Harrison Garrett Collection - Robert Garrett Collection - John Works Garrett Collection - Johns Hopkins University Collection - Bowers & Ruddy 3/1980:732, $125,000 - Ed Hipps, sold privately - John Walter Whitney Collection - Stack's 5/1999:1787, $299,000 - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack’s/Bowers & Sotheby’s 5/2015:1116, $822,500

3 MS62 PCGS grade  
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS65 PCGS grade  

Lorin Parmelee Collection - New York Coin and Stamp Co. 6/1890:719 - Col. Robert C.H. Brock Collection - University of Pennsylvania - Philip H. Ward, Jr. Collection - Stack's 5/1964:1660, $7,750 - Lelan Rogers Collection - Stack’s “Numisma '95” 11/1995:1498, $605,000 - American Numismatic Rarities 6/2005:1002, $1,380,000 -  Madison Collection - Heritage 1/2008:3058, $1,725,000

2 MS64 estimated grade  
3 MS62+ PCGS grade

James Swan Collection - American Numismatic Rarities 7/2004:82, $345,000 - Stack's 7/2008:2324, $488,750 - Bob R. Simpson Collection

3 MS62 PCGS grade

Harold P. Newlin, sold privately on 10/31/1884 - T. Harrison Garrett Collection - Robert Garrett Collection - John Works Garrett Collection - Johns Hopkins University Collection - Bowers & Ruddy 3/1980:732, $125,000 - Ed Hipps, sold privately - John Walter Whitney Collection - Stack's 5/1999:1787, $299,000 - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack’s/Bowers & Sotheby’s 5/2015:1116, $822,500

3 MS62 PCGS grade  
3 MS62 estimated grade  

Heritage 1/2004:3004 (as NGC MS62 695929-001), $138,000 - Offered by MikeByers.com at the 2/2012 Long Beach show for $750,000 - Heritage 8/2012:5281, $252,625

3 MS62 estimated grade  

Superior 3/2000:712, $178,250 - Freedom Collection - Heritage 1/2007:3380, $287,500

3 MS62 estimated grade  

National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

9 MS61 PCGS grade

High Desert Collection (PCGS Set Registry)

9 MS61 PCGS grade

James A. Stack, Sr. Collection - Stack's 10/1994:829, $82,500 - Alpine Zephyr Collection - Heritage 8/2006:5417, $322,000 - Werner Family Collection - Stack's/Bowers 8/2012:11174, $411,250 - Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation - Stack's/Bowers & Sotheby's 10/2015:55, $352,500

Ron Guth: The 1796 Quarter Eagle with No Stars on the obverse is one of the most historic and important U.S. gold coins.  The mintage is a mere 963 pieces, which is exceedingly small by any standard.  Estimates of the number of surviving examples has ranged all over the place.  David Akers claimed 30 to 40, refuting earlier claims of 15 to 20 known.  The cataloger at Heritage estimated 80 to 100 in their January 2007 sale.  PCGS experts estimate a surviving population of 100 to 125 pieces.  To put a finer spin on things, we have images of 28 different examples, all in AU or better.  Eleven of those examples are Mint State 60 or better.  At the top of the condition census is the incredible PCGS MS65 (finest by two full points) that sold for $1,725,000 in January 2008.  

It is very difficult to locate a "perfect" 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle.  Many show lintmarks of various sizes.  Some show adjustment marks, usually in the center of the obverse.  The Bass:261 coin (now in an NGC MS60 holder) shows three different, mint-caused defects: a diagonal fissure running from the turban to Liberty's temple; vertical adjustment marks on the obverse; and a heavy lintmark on the right side of the reverse (yet, it is still a nice, six-figure coin).  Though there are numerically finer examples, my personal favorite is Bob Simpson's PCGS MS62+ -- it is well-struck, has great color, and is free of any distracting problems.


David Akers (1975/88): This is a distinct and highly desireable type coin since all subsequent quarter eagles have stars on the obverse. The reverse has 16 stars above the eagle. Most specimens that I have seen are weakly struck on the hair curls around the face, and some specimens also show various degrees of deterioration in the die at the E of LIBERTY. The majority of known pieces are proof-like or at least partially so. A small number of relatively choice uncirculated examples exist, and claims that only 15 to 20 pieces are known seem to me to be exaggerated. A closer estimate of the number extant would probably be between 30 and 40.