Coin Specifications

Category: Early $2.50 (1796-1834)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 432
Catalog: KM-27
Obverse Designer: Robert Scot
Reverse Designer: Robert Scot
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9160
Weight: 4.3700g
AGW: 0.1287oz
Melt Value: $166.86 (7/30/2014)
Diameter: 20mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1796 STARS $2.5 MS obverse 1796 STARS $2.5 MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

There are certainly less than 10 true Mint State examples of this issue still in existence today. In all grades, the total estimated population is only 40 to 45 coins from a mintage generally believed to be 432 coins.

Historical Commentary

The Mint Act of 1792 authorized all of the gold and silver coins that would eventually be struck by the young Philadelphia Mint. After property was acquired, construction of the actual buildings was completed, and all was ready to produced the Nation's first coinage, copper, silver, and gold. Despite completion of the physical components and acquisition of the necessary equipment, coinage of gold and silver could still not be accomplished as the bonding requirement for key employees was too strict. These employees were unable to meet the original requirement of $10,000 bond to insure against possible loss.

Rittenhouse approached Congress with a request to reduce this amount, which they eventually did. The new requirement was $5,000 bond, a more reasonable figure for the time. It was understood that steps would be put in place for these bonded employees to only have access to a limited amount of gold and silver at any one time, further reducing the risk to the government. Finally, all was set for production of precious metals coinage. Silver dollars and half dollars were coined for the first time late in 1794, followed by other silver denominations. Half eagles and eagles came next, with the first gold coins struck in July 1795, and finally the quarter eagles were produced beginning in September 1796 with the No Stars issue. Even after all was set for production of gold coins, few quarter eagles were produced. The denomination of choice for depositors were the larger half eagles and eagles. The Design Creation of the early quarter eagle design is generally attributed to Robert Scot, the first Chief Engraver of the Philadelphia Mint.

A bust of Liberty faces right, draped and capped, with the 1796 date below and LIBERTY above. A total of 16 stars are arranged with eight to the left and eight to the right, each oriented point-to-point. Only a few early U.S. coins have stars oriented in this manner as the usual orientation has a single point toward the border.

The reverse has a large, Heraldic eagle patterned after the Great Seal of the United States. A ribbon in the eagle's beak extends left and right, bearing the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM. The eagle holds a bundle of arrows (eight are visible) in its dexter claw and an olive branch in its sinister claw. A shield on the eagle's breast consists of eight vertical stripes and nine horizontal crossbars. Above the eagle's head is a row of clouds (seven or eight, depending on the viewer's perspective) and 16 stars in a seemingly random placement. The statutory legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA follows the border clockwise, from 7:30 to 5:30. Individual Die Characteristics Notable features of this die pair include the digit 6 overlapping the bottom edge of the drapery on the obverse and the raised die file lines through TATE on the reverse. The 8x8 star arrangement on the obverse is somewhat inconsistent with a wide space between star 1 and the hair curl, enough to permit a ninth star on the left, which would have eliminated the crowded appearance of the stars on the right.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/13/2013

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1796 STARS $2.5 MS
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 23
Low Grade: 40
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 65


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
5/28/2006 PCGS AU 55   Goldberg May 28-31, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 36/Lot# 3669 $123,625.00
7/30/2008 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2008 July-August Baltimore, MD (ANA) US Coin Signature Auction #1114, 1114/Lot# 1452 $207,000.00
9/14/2008 PCGS AU 55   Goldberg September 14-16, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 48/Lot# 1222 $129,375.00
8/15/2011 NGC MS 63   Stack's Bowers The August 2011 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Auction, 115/Lot# 7593 $287,500.00
1/3/2012 NGC Details XF Details  Heritage Auctions 2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando Session(5), 1166/Lot# 4721 $13,800.00
1/29/2012 NGC MS 61   Goldberg January 29 - February 1, 2012 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 67/Lot# 1143 $155,250.00
4/27/2014 NGC XF 40   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 04/27/2014, 173/Lot# 190828 $61,160.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1796 STARS $2.5 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base489653755888695190941055011384121011284613292139021427715100156871793521430265062956532878364584031944474
50555546624276659579108281162312349129941349514027145511529516436191002312227525306693407137745417040
000000116231234912994134951402714551152951643619100231222752530669340713774500
000000118621259713143136981415214825154911718520265248142854531773352643903200
1796 STARS $2.5 MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base509655906118721094111090411757124921325413711143351471815560161611845722026272033032033695373404126945495
52605766648279439908111881200212746134061391914462149981576016926196462375128242314453491038649426770
000000120021274613406139191446214998157601692619646237512824231445349103864900
000000122471300013558141271459015279159601769120836254772928132570361253995900
Registry Image Gallery

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