1796 Capped Bust quarter Eagle brings in $ 456,000

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The United States Mint was young and ambitious in 1796, busy minting bronze, silver and gold coins. The recent auctions of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money offered a rich selection of coins dated 1796.

One of the finest was a capped bust from 1796, stars on the obverse in gold at $ 2.50, rated Mint State 62 by Professional Coin Grading Service, which made $ 456,000 in the Rarities Night sale of Stack’s Bowers Galleries on August 17th.

Two design subtypes were minted in 1796 – one with obverse stars and one without – with the “Red Book” indicating a draw of only 432 stars on the obverse quarter eagles.

The lot in question was donated in 1926 by Massachusetts coin dealer Elmer Snow Sears. The cataloguer writes: “When and under what circumstances Sears acquired this part are unknown. Has he been set aside from his dealer stock as a personal favorite? Did he cross paths with Sears after his retirement and get him a special numismatic sale? Or maybe Sears acquired the piece with the specific intention of including it in their personal collection. We will never know. ”

It was acquired by the shipper in the 1970s and had not been on the market since then.

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