An example of the 1796 Capped Bust, No Stars gold $2.50 quarter
eagle sold for $94,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 5 and 6 sale in Houston.
The coin is certified Very Fine 30 by Professional Coin Grading Service.
The coin was one of 2,312 lots offered in four floor sessions in
conjunction with the Money Show of the Southwest.
The auction brought total prices realized of $8,382,609, which
includes the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee added to the hammer price of
each lot won. Of the lots offered, 97.8 percent sold, according to
1796 No Stars quarter eagle
The coin in the auction is the Bass-Dannreuther 1, Extended Arrows
variety, as cataloged in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties: A Study of
Die States, 1795-1834 by John W. Dannreuther and Harry W. Bass Jr. The
BD-1 variety is distinguished from the only other variety of the 1796
No Stars subtype by the reverse arrows extending to the left foot of
the I in UNITED.
On the 1796 BD-2 variety, the arrows extend only to the right
upright of the N.
“No exact mintage figure can be given for the two varieties of
1796 No Stars, despite the existence of two deliveries of 66 coins and
897 coins that some have equated to the two varieties,” according to
the Heritage Auctions’ lot description, “But some of the 432 coins
delivered in January 1797 could have been of the 1796 No Stars rather
than the 1796 With Stars; or, as Bass [and] Dannreuther point out,
some of the 897 coins could have been the With Stars variety, so that
fewer than 963 of the No Stars varieties were struck.”
The Bass-Dannreuther reference suggests that just four to six
examples of the 1796 No Stars, BD-1 variety are known to exist, and
100 to 125 of the BD-2 coin. The BD-1 variety is considered by
Bass-Dannreuther to be the rarest quarter eagle variety from 1796
The BD-3 variety for the date is of the other subtype; the 1796
Capped Bust, With Stars quarter eagle bears 16 six-pointed stars on
the obverse — eight to the left of Liberty’s portrait, eight to the
right. The 16 stars reflect Tennessee’s admission to the Union June 1,
1796, as the nation’s 16th state.
1983 copper cent
Also in the Heritage auction, a 1983 Lincoln cent struck on a
copper planchet realized $23,500.
Certified PCGS Mint State 62 red and brown, the 1983 cent is
struck on a copper-planchet left over from the 1982 composition
In 1982, the composition of the Lincoln cent was changed from a
copper alloy of 95 percent copper, 5 percent zinc, to 97.5 percent
zinc and 2.5 percent copper. The latter composition represents a
planchet composed of 99.2 percent zinc and 0.8 percent copper, plated
with pure copper.
The 1983 cent could have been struck at either the Philadelphia
Mint or the San Francisco Mint since both facilities struck cents
without a Mint mark. Presumably the coin was struck on a planchet
leftover from 1982, possibly one that was stuck in a steel tote cart
and subsequently dislodged before being fed into a coinage press.
The 1983 copper cent weighs 3.1 grams, the weight of 1982 cents
before the change to copper-plated zinc. The copper-plated zinc cents
weigh 2.5 grams.
1864 With L on Ribbon cent
Heritage’s auction also included one of 10 known examples of an
1864 Indian Head, With L on Ribbon cent bronze restrike. The piece
sold for $44,062.50.
The coin is certified Proof 64 brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
It is cataloged as Snow PR2 in A Guide Book of Flying Eagle and Indian
Head Cents by Richard Snow.
The Proof 1864 Indian Head, L on Ribbon cent is known by three
varieties, struck by three different obverse dies and two different
reverses. The L references Chief Engraver James B. Longacre’s signature.
Researchers believe the number of Proof 1864 Indian Head, L on
Ribbon cents to be more than the reported mintage of 20 coins, since
approximately that number are confirmed extant.
According to Snow: “By 1869, the coin was in demand enough to
warrant someone at the Mint to strike additional pieces. This was
probably done by Mint Assayer William DuBois, who worked as curator of
the Mint Collection. An additional 10 specimens were struck using a
refurbished obverse die and the regular proof Shallow N reverse die
from the 1868-1871 period.”
Snow pedigreed 10 examples of the Snow PR2 cent.
Visit Heritage Numismatic Auctions online at www.ha.com. ■