By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) ……
For the latest installment from the “Dark Corner“, I will review a certified “fake” example of the scarce 1796 Gold $2.50 No Stars quarter eagle. With a reported mintage of just 963 and the only one of its type in the series, even a low-grade or damaged example is worth big bucks! And the reason I state “fake” versus counterfeit will be revealed in a bit.
As always, I’ll start with images of the certified example:
A dealer had this example come across their counter and was asking for opinions on it. My first reaction was What kind of a bird is that? Comparisons to a genuine example of a 1796 No Stars quarter eagle show more differences between the two to even count, but the date is a definite giveaway:
More differences on the reverse including the rendition of an “eagle”.
Internet searches for a possible second example turned up a probable match, a Gallery Mint version. An obverse comparison shows the same profile/expression and blocky date:
The reverse of this potential second specimen appears to be a match as well, although the subject example has been worn down to likely hide some of the Gallery Mint details (can you say COPY?).
This would not be the first time a legitimate copy was worn and or tooled to hide the mandated copy mark in an attempt to make an “authentic” low-grade example; there was actually a GMM “1793 Large Cent” that made it into a certified holder several years back.
Be careful out there!
Best as always,
–Jack D. Young, EAC 5050
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