The D. Brent Pogue Collection

backMint State 1796 Quarter Eagle

Lot 1116
Mint State 1796 Quarter Eagle

No Obverse Stars, First Type
The Garrett Collection Coin

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1796 Capped Bust Right Quarter Eagle. No Stars on Obverse. BD-2. Rarity-4. MS-62 (PCGS). Here is another landmark coin with a pedigree to the John Whitney Walter (“Mr. 1796”) Collection. Before that the lineage is to T. Harrison Garrett and his “scout,” Harold P. Newlin.

In our 1989 offering of the Walter Collection, we called this “probably second finest known,” subordinate only to the Brock and University of Pennsylvania coin sold by us in our session of the Numisma ’95 sale, there described as slightly finer, but with the rims filed at the Mint to adjust the weight downward.

The presently showcased coin is lustrous and well struck and has excellent eye appeal.

Although $2.50 gold coins were provided for in the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, they were not struck until 1796. In that year a curious motif was introduced, at least in comparison to the rest of American coinage. The obverse depicted Liberty wearing a conical cloth cap, facing right, without stars to left and right, and simply the date below, giving it a cameo like appearance without equivalent anywhere else at the time. The reverse introduced the heraldic eagle motif based on the Great Seal of the United States, its first appearance in the gold series (although 1795 $5 pieces with the heraldic eagle are known, these were not struck until 1798, employing a serviceable 1795 obverse die still on hand).

The reason for the lack of obverse stars is not recorded, but a likely reason is that there were 13 stars on the reverse, thus adding an equal number on the obverse would be redundant. No matter, within the year stars were added to the obverse, creating the second design type of the denomination.

Provenance: From Harold P. Newlin, October 1884; T. Harrison Garrett; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; The Johns Hopkins University; our Garrett Collection Sale, Part II, March 1980, lot 732; our sale of the John Whitney Walter Collection, May 1999, lot 1787.

Rarities Auction Accompanying the D. Brent Pogue Collection

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will be hosting an exclusive Rarities Auction, held in conjunction with The D. Brent Pogue Collection. We will be accepting limited consignments of United States and world coins and paper money, featured in a spectacular catalog reserved for the rarest of the rare. Special terms will apply. If you are interested in participating in this unique opportunity, please call 949-748-4849 or email us at [email protected].

Alternatively, you can fill out our online consignment form. Click here to view the form.