1796 Draped Bust Quarter

The 1796 Draped Bust Quarter is the first year of issue for the denomination and an important coin for type set collectors. After striking 6,146 pieces, no additional quarter dollars would be minted for eight years. When the denomination returned in 1804, a new reverse design was used, making the previous issue a one year subtype.

Despite the extremely low mintage, a few outstanding uncirculated examples of the coin exist, indicating that at least some pieces were saved as souvenirs, which had also been the case for some other denominations. The majority of pieces have survived in well circulated condition, often with problems such as cleaning or damage. Finding a problem-free example with excellent eye-appeal can require a decent amount of searching. Strike also varies from coin to coin, although this year usually appears better struck than the later issues from 1804 to 1807. Fully struck coins, however, remain extremely rare.

In August 2010, a 1796 Quarter graded PCGS MS65 from the Norweb Collection sold for $322,000 at auction. The coin exhibited fully proof like fields with sharp details, suggesting that it was a special presentation strike.