US Coins

1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle quarter has solid value

This 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle, quarter dollar is perhaps the lowest grade example one will find of this rare one-year type, selling for $2,300 at Scotsman’s July 24 auction.

Images courtesy of Scotsman

Scotsman Auction Co.’s 2015 Midwest Summer Sale showcased 1,118 lots and realized $1,657,502. Among the wide range of coins in the July 24 auction were numerous key-date rarities in solid, collector grades and group lots where the winning bid was sometimes double or triple the estimate. The auction was held alongside the Missouri Numismatic Society’s 155th annual coin show, July 23 to 25, at the Saint Charles Convention Center.

Here is one of three lots we’re analyzing that offered a blend of rarity and value. 

The Coin

1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter Dollar, Poor Details, Obverse Graffiti

The Price


The Story

The 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle, quarter dollar is a rare one-year type and is the only 18th century regular issue quarter dollar issued by the Philadelphia Mint. This example, graded by NGC as Poor Details, Obverse Graffiti, is among the most affordable examples to trade in recent years, selling for $2,300. 

A beauty it is not. But, looking beyond its obvious problems that include an M that has been crudely carved at Liberty’s chin on the obverse, it has some positive attributes including a clear date and more details of Liberty’s profile than other examples at the lowest end of the grading spectrum.

The issue’s popularity as a type coin is undeniable, and considering that even ugly holed and plugged examples with barely-there details sell for $3,000, this coin seems to be a solid value.

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