Rare 1796 Draped Bust $2.50 Gold NGC AU58 . - $159,000. Click on Coin Image to
choice lustrous specimen of America's first quarter
eagle gold coins. This first United States Quarter Eagle
is dated 1796. And there are two varieties, with and
without stars. The With Stars type is also extremely
rare, desirable and in demand by date collectors and
investors. All early quarter eagles are rare and sought
by collectors and specialists in all conditions. In
its population report, NGC shows 7 1796 With Stars certified
in AU58. A fantastic opportunity for the investor, collector
me by email
or telephone 1-800-624-1870
to reserve this great coin.
President Thomas Jefferson
appointed Robert Scot Chief Engraver of the Mint on
November 23, 1793. Although he was criticized for his
designs, they were the first struck for the United States.
Scot had been an engraver of paper money during the
Revolution. His ability to work as a die cutter was
somewhat limited, and he had failing eyesight. Despite
these limitations he engraved dies that created the
first copper, silver, and gold coinage. The coins he
produced had errors, and they were not the same quality
as European coinage, however, Congress would not allow
a European firm to contract the work. It was the best
that the young country could produce at the time.
The obverse design of
the quarter eagle shows a full figured bust of Liberty
facing right with the date below and slightly to the
left. Above the date are eight stars on each side of
LIBERTY, one for each state of the Union at the time,
including newly admitted Tennessee. Subsequent dates
of this design type had different arrangements of stars,
including seven and six, and eight and five. Liberty
is wearing an oversized, soft cap. Her hair shows on
her forehead and flows down the side of her face and
neck. The bust is draped in a kind of classical design,
which was designer Robert Scot’s goal. However,
the ancients never used drapery the way Scot did. His
bust is draped more like a head waiting for a body to
The coin’s reverse
is an adaptation of the Great Seal of the United States.
The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the design.
A banner over the eagle’s right wing and under
the left is inscribed E PLURIBUS UNUM. Sixteen stars
are between the banner and the clouds above the eagle’s
head. Other dates had various arrangements of stars,
including fourteen in a cross and thirteen in an arc.
The shield, with its sixteen stripes, represents the
Union. Some other dates had thirteen stripes on the
shield. Mint Director Elias Boudinot realized that additional
territories would become new states. Obviously, the
number of stars and stripes had to be fixed because
they could not increase indefinitely. At some time in
1797 he ordered Scot to limit the number of stars and
stripes to thirteen for the first states. However, he
left the placement of the stars to Scot.
In its talons the eagle
holds the traditional symbols of war and peace, the
arrows and olive branch; however, in an incredible blunder
Scot mixed up the positions of arrows and olive branch.
Traditionally the olive branch is held in the eagle’s
dexter or right, honorable, claw. In Scot’s version,
the arrows are honorable and the olive branch is in
the less honorable or sinister claw. This mistaken symbolism,
if intended, shows either defiant militarism or political
stupidity. On the other hand, if not intended, the mistake
shows a blundering young country that can’t even
get its symbolism correct.