Coin Specifications

Category: Early $2.50 (1796-1834)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 963
Obverse Designer: Robert Scot
Reverse Designer: Robert Scot
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9160
Weight: 4.3700g
AGW: 0.1300oz
Melt Value: $164.53 (5/30/2017)
Diameter: 20mm
Edge: Reeded
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1796 NO STARS $2.5 MS obverse 1796 NO STARS $2.5 MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

While the 1796 With Stars quarter eagle 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 small for the international commerce that favored the gold half eagle. From 1796 through the end of the Capped Head to Left quarter eagle design in 1834, the Mint produced approximately 64,262 quarter eagles, according to Guide Book figures. During that same time the Mint produced half eagles in the amount of 2,120,543 pieces more or less, or about 33 times the number of half eagles compared to quarter eagles. Some half eagles such as the 1820, with 263,806 pieces coined, had mintages that would represent a healthy emission even for a much-later Liberty Head half eagle--but both the early half eagles and quarter eagles (as well as gold eagles, made only from 1795-1804) were melted on a vast scale in the early 1830s, when there were still perhaps only a few coin collectors in the United States and the melt value of the coins exceeded their face value.

The estimated mintages of the 1796 No Stars and With Stars, 963 and 432 pieces respectively, are just that: estimates, which Walter Breen first propounded based on three delivery warrants. The first warrant, of Sept. 22, 1796, was for just 66 coins, while the second, from Dec. 8, was for 897 coins. The third delivery, made on Jan. 14, 1797, was for 432 coins. Breen lumped the first two deliveries together to come up with a total mintage of 963 No Stars coins--but that is just a guess, one that has been widely adopted, including by the Guide Book of United States Coins.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/11/2016

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

1796 NO STARS $2.5 MS
Base $ 18500 29000 58500 87500 110000 129000 140000 170000 235000 285000 440000 875000 1100000 1350000 2300000
$ - - - - - - - - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 37
Low Grade: 40
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 65

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/13/2006 PCGS AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2006 September Long Beach, CA Signature Auction #416, 416/Lot# 3101 $92,000.00
12/5/2013 PCGS VF 30   Heritage Auctions 2013 December 5 - 8 US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(2), 1192/Lot# 3792 $94,000.00
1/26/2014 NGC AU 55   Goldberg January 26-28, 2014 January Pre-Long Beach Sale 17.5% BP, 78/Lot# 1690 $135,125.00
2/9/2014 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/09/2014, 171/Lot# 167867 $112,200.00
8/6/2014 NGC XF 40   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 13176 $64,625.00
10/1/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers The Oct 2015 Rarities Auction, 6133/Lot# 55 $352,500.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1796 NO STARS $2.5 MS
1796 NO STARS $2.5 MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 62
Points: 13762
Owner: BillJones
View the Registry Image Gallery

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