US Coins

Precious 1796 Capped Bust $2.50 quarter eagle: Market Analysis

A potentially undergraded 1796 Capped Bust, No Stars gold $2.50 quarter eagle in an old-style PCGS MS-61 holder with a gold CAC sticker led Stack’s Bowers’ Oct. 1 Rarities Night auction, selling for $352,500.

Original images courtesy Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

On Oct. 1, Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s held a Rarities Auction consisting of 135 lots of coins and other numismatic items that totaled $2,993,230. Gold coins led the sale, but another highlight was a classic bronze United States Diplomatic Medal by Augustin Dupré from the Cardinal Educational Foundation Collection that realized $188,000. After the sale Stack’s Bowers president Brian Kendrella said, “The Pogue Collection sale the prior evening brought in some new faces, who also participated in the Rarities Auction, and we were thrilled to welcome them.” 

The Coin
1796 Capped Bust, No Stars Gold $2.50 quarter eagle, MS-61, Gold CAC sticker

The Price

The Story
The top lot of the post-Pogue II Rarities Auction was a 1796 Capped Bust, No Stars gold $2.50 quarter eagle graded Mint State 61 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a gold Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. A gold CAC sticker is reserved for coins that could “easily green sticker at the next highest grade level.”

Stack’s Bowers estimates that just 100 to 130 of the original mintage of 963 pieces exists today, and of that group, only a dozen or so survive in Mint State condition. It’s coveted as a one-year type (stars were added to the obverse design later in 1796) and as the first gold $2.50 quarter eagle. 

It last sold at Stack’s Bowers’ August 2012 American Numismatic Association auction where, in the same old-style PCGS holder, it brought $402,500. A different example offered at the first Pogue auction on May 19, 2015, graded MS-62 by PCGS, sold for $822,500.

Community Comments