Finest 1796 quarter realises $1.5m in Eric P Newman auction

The finest certified 1796 quarter has seen the highest bids in the highly anticipated sale of Eric P Newman's outstanding collection of US coins at Heritage Auctions.

1796 quarter MS67 US coin
The 1796 quarter was part of the first series of coins in the US, with this the finest existing example

As the finest certified example - MS67+ - of the first 25c coin issued in the US, the quarter saw excellent bids to realise $1.5m on November 15-16 in New York.. It is described as "the most beautiful American silver coin that exists today".

This is the second part of the Newman Collection to have been offered by Heritage, with the first bringing more than $4m in April, focusing on pattern coins.

Eric P Newman is a 102-year-old retired St Louis lawyer and business executive, who began collecting in the 1930s. His 1,800 coin collection cost him only around $7,500, with the 1796 quarter bought for just $100.

"Eric P. Newman of St. Louis began buying and studying the finest high-quality and rare United States coins he could starting about 90 years ago," commented Heritage's Jim Halperin.

"His return on investment is about 310,000 percent, but the knowledge he acquired about early American money, and shared with collectors through his writings over the years, is priceless."

Proceeds from the sale are being donated to the Eric P Newman Numismatic Society.

Draped bust dollar 1795
This is the finest example of the Draped Bust, Small Eagle dollar, which replaced the first $1 coin of 1794

Early coins in exceptional condition were the most coveted lots of the sale, with a 1795 $1 Draped Bust, Small Eagle dollar, graded MS66+, selling for $910,625. Following this was the 1799 $1 7x6 Stars, which made $422,500, graded MS67.

The sale came at the end of what Heritage Auctions' termed Newman Week in New York, with the coins available for viewing several days prior to auction.  

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic selection of rare coins for sale.

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