Coin Specifications

Category: Draped Bust $10 (1795-1804)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 4,146
Catalog: KM-21
Obverse Designer: Robert Scot
Reverse Designer: Robert Scot
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9160
Weight: 17.5000g
AGW: 0.5154oz
Melt Value: $630.44 (9/19/2014)
Diameter: 33mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1796 $10 MS obverse 1796 $10 MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Mint documents indicate 6,934 eagles were minted in 1796, but numismatists believe some of them were actually dated 1795. All 1796-dated eagles are from a single die variety, BD-1, with a distinctive obverse featuring 16 stars in an 8x8 pattern. Since Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796, the 1796-dated coins must have been minted afterward, and earlier deliveries were most likely dated 1795. Deliveries of ten dollar gold coins from June 2 to December 22, 1796, totaled 4,146 pieces, the accepted production total in the 2011 Guidebook.

Actually, the mintage figures are even more uncertain than previously believed, because recent die state research indicates some 1796-dated coins were actually struck after the 1797 Small Eagle issue. The 1797 Small Eagle emission used the same reverse die as the 1796-dated coins. A single 1796 eagle is known that exhibits die cracks absent on the 1797 coins, indicating the die must have been used to coin some 1796 eagles later, and it cracked during this emission. As John Dannreuther notes in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties:

'This date was struck on more than one occasion with a few produced after the 1797 Small Eagle variety that employs the same reverse. The single known example of 1796 with reverse die cracks indicates that some 1796 State d/c coins were struck after the 1797 ones. Thus, this remarriage of these dies to produce some of the coins dated 1796 further confuses the situation as to the number coined of each date.'

The number of 1796 coins produced in the following year must have been small, since only one coin is known with the telltale die cracks. The currently accepted mintage figure is probably not far from the truth, and the estimated surviving population of 125-175 examples is in line with an original mintage of about 3,500-4,000 pieces.

The 1796 Capped Bust Right eagles were favorites of early collectors, and serious research was accomplished on these coins at an early date. The use of 16 obverse stars was continued in 1797, but the arrangement was different. The unique 8x8 star placement may have attracted collector interest early on. The fact that only one die variety exists for the 1796 eagle was discovered by John Colvin Randall as early as the mid-1880s. In the sale of the Randall Collection (Woodward, 9/1885), lot 979 in the eagles section reads, '1796 Same type, and in quality equal to the last. I have met with no other variety of 1796.'

The popularity of this date has only increased over the years, and new price records continue to be set.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/10/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1796 $10 MS
Base $ 14500 22500 32500 37500 55500 55500 67500 72000 82500 115000 130000 145000 205000 400000 625000 1175000 - - - - -
$ - - - 103000 - - - - - - - - - -
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Total Graded: 67
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 63

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
8/2/1997 NGC AU 50   Heritage Auctions 1997 ANA Signature Sale #175, 175/Lot# 7738 $18,112.50
2/1/2009 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg February 1-4, 2009 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 51/Lot# 1520 $161,000.00
1/5/2011 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(3), 1151/Lot# 5172 $63,250.00
9/4/2011 NGC AU 50   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19251/Lot# 1176 $54,990.00
2/28/2012 NGC AU 58   Stack's Bowers The March 2012 Baltimore Auction, 135/Lot# 4329 $71,300.00
1/21/2013 PCGS VF 20   Teletrade Auction 3414, 3414/Lot# 2062 $3,700.00
2/7/2013 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1182/Lot# 3972 $76,375.00
11/10/2013 PCGS Genuine AU   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/10/2013, 100/Lot# 116865 $32,181.60

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1796 $10 MS
1796 $10 MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 13421
Owner: SMS Coins
Grade: AU 55
Points: 12620
Owner: American Independence Collection
View the Registry Image Gallery

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