1796 Quarter Eagle, No Stars on Obverse

The 1796 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle (Buy on eBay) with no stars on the obverse is one of the most famous gold issues of the 18th century. While every other 1796-dated gold and silver coin produced by the United States Mint included stars on the obverse, the stars were notably absent from the first quarter eagles produced.

The total mintage for the issue was 963 pieces, which was divided between two deliveries. The first 66 quarter eagles were delivered in September of 1796. These are all believed to have been of the BD-1 variety, identified by extended arrowheads on the obverse. The second delivery included 897 coins, believed to represent the BD-2 variety, which is the most frequently encountered.

A little over 100 examples are still known to exist, including about a dozen pieces in mint state grades. This represents a fairly high survival rate, indicating that perhaps the issue experienced low overall circulation with some pieces saved as souvenirs. The single finest known example graded PCGS MS-65 sold on two different occasions for over a million dollars at public auction, most recently for $1,725,000 in 2008.