The United States Mint was young and ambitious in 1796, busy minting bronze, silver and gold coins. The recent auctions of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money offered a rich selection of coins dated 1796.
One of the finest was a capped bust from 1796, stars on the obverse in gold at $ 2.50, rated Mint State 62 by Professional Coin Grading Service, which made $ 456,000 in the Rarities Night sale of Stack’s Bowers Galleries on August 17th.
Two design subtypes were minted in 1796 – one with obverse stars and one without – with the “Red Book” indicating a draw of only 432 stars on the obverse quarter eagles.
The lot in question was donated in 1926 by Massachusetts coin dealer Elmer Snow Sears. The cataloguer writes: âWhen and under what circumstances Sears acquired this part are unknown. Has he been set aside from his dealer stock as a personal favorite? Did he cross paths with Sears after his retirement and get him a special numismatic sale? Or maybe Sears acquired the piece with the specific intention of including it in their personal collection. We will never know. ”
It was acquired by the shipper in the 1970s and had not been on the market since then.
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