“People’s Favorite” 1796 Quarter Dollar, Prooflike Rarity

Among the many wonderful Gems in the D. Brent Pogue Collection, this prooflike MS-66 (PCGS) 1796 quarter dollar has been a favorite at exhibitions and in print. Its status as the first year of the design, its high grade, and its beautiful toning have combined to create a great desire in those who have viewed it. And, justifiably so.

When B. Max Mehl described this very coin in his James Ten Eyck Collection catalog in 1922 he said: “Broad milled borders. Beautiful Proof. Well struck up. Rare.” In our sale of the Milton Holmes Collection, cataloger Norman Stack expanded with this: “Perfect brilliant Proof! A flawless gem that could possibly be matched by one or two others offered in the last 30 years—certainly no finer can exist. Sharp, well struck with perfect milled borders and just about equal to any modern Brilliant Proof in appearance. An unusually bold impression with sharp eagle on reverse. Delightful blue tinge of iridescence.” Today this gem remains as attractive and desirable as ever, sure to be a treasure in the collection of its next owner.

Apart from its rarity and beauty and adding to the magic, is the position of the 1796 quarter as the very first issue of the 25¢ denomination and the only year in which the Draped Bust obverse was combined with the Small Eagle reverse. The low mintage of only 6,146 coins is another magnet. After that there were no further quarters minted until 1804, at which time the Heraldic Eagle reverse was used, thus isolating 1796 as the only year of the Draped Bust obverse, Small Eagle reverse type.

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