US Coins

1796 Capped Bust quarter eagle has 'old gold' accents

A handsome 1796 Capped Bust, No Stars gold $2.50 quarter eagle graded VF-30 by PCGS sold for $88,125 at Heritage's 2016 CSNS Platinum Night auction.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

The Very Fine grade has the widest range of numerical grades in the 1 to 70 Sheldon scale that serves as the basis for grading coins today. Grades can range from Very Fine 20 to 35, with the next grade being Extremely Fine 40. It’s a tricky grade in today’s marketplace: well-circulated, but not entry-point; nicely detailed, but with virtually no luster. Here are three Very Fine coins that sold at Heritage’s recent Central States Numismatic Society auction in Schaumburg, Ill. 

The Coin:

1796 Capped Bust, No Stars Gold $2.50 quarter eagle, VF-30

The Price:


The Story:

1796 marked the first year that the quarter eagle denomination was struck at the Philadelphia Mint and the mintage of the 1796 Capped Bust, No Stars gold $2.50 quarter eagle was a tiny 963 pieces. 

It has long been coveted by collectors as a rare type coin.

COIN VALUES:  How much is your 1796 Capped Bust quarter eagle worth?

When one sees an old gold coin with this much circulation, the mind wanders, considering the things that this coin has seen and the stories that it could tell. As Heritage observes, “Both sides display unquestionably original ‘old gold’ color with deeper accents within and surrounding the devices,” concluding, “This is an excellent midgrade example of this one-year type.” 

Graded VF-30 by Professional Coin Grading Service, it sold for $88,125, a bit less than the $94,000 it brought when offered in December 2013 at Heritage’s Houston Signature auction.

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