The 1796 is the only quarter featuring the Draped Bust, Small Eagle design, and it was also the only quarter struck for circulation in the 18th century. Production did not resume until 1804, by which time the Small Eagle reverse had been replaced by the Heraldic Eagle design. More impressive than the dime but certainly more approachable than the half dollar of the same year, the 1796 quarter occupies a special spot in U.S. numismatics. While stunning Gem examples generate the most excitement, every single survivor from this issue remains an important rarity. In fact, it is most often found in well-worn grades up to Very Good and often with surface problems.
We are thrilled to offer an exceptional VF-35 (PCGS) example in lot 2003 of our June 2021 Costa Mesa Auction. A visually impressive specimen, the dove-gray surfaces feature peach patina across the high points and subtle gold and navy-blue toning near the borders. It is well centered and sharply struck, with crisp denticles at the borders and considerable mint luster glowing in the protected areas. This attractive piece is offered as part of the James D. Brilliant Collection, a cabinet that we first handled in January 1992. While most recognized for early half dollars, this offering also includes desirable 19th century gold coinage as well as a famous "1776" Continental dollar.
This VF-35 (PCGS) 1796 quarter can be found in lot 2003 of our June 2021 Showcase Auction, hosted at the state-of-the-art auction gallery in our new Costa Mesa, California headquarters. The June sale arrives on the heels of our record-setting auctions in March and April that saw combined prices realized above $60 million. With seven lots from these events exceeding $1 million, the numismatic market clearly remains strong heading into the summer auction season. For questions about the auction or to order a copy of the printed catalog, please contact our Auction Services team by telephone at 800-566-2580 or by email at [email protected].