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MS62 1839-D Quarter Eagle
Two-Year Obverse Mintmark Subtype

1839-D $2 1/2 MS62 PCGS. Variety 1-A, Weak Stem. The year 1828 marked the beginning of the first gold rush in America, two decades before the "Days of '49" in California. Although North Carolinians had been finding small quantities of gold since the late 18th century, in 1828 the publicity over gold strikes in Northern Georgia and North Carolina heated up enough to send "thousands of victims of 'gold fever' to that area and various other Southern Appalachian locales" (Breen, Complete Encyclopedia) in search of gold. Although Templeton Reid in Georgia and the Bechtlers in North Carolina began issuing private gold coinage in 1830 and 1831, respectively, the better part of a decade would pass before the U.S. Mint established its first Southern branches in New Orleans, Charlotte, and Dahlonega, all of which came online in 1838. Among the branch mints only Charlotte struck quarter eagles in 1838, while all four existing mints (including Philadelphia) struck the denomination in 1839, the last year of the Classic Head design with obverse mintmark.
Of course, those two traits make the 1839-D quarter eagle a doubly popular coin and a two-year subtype in the series. This is the Variety 1-A according to Winter: The olive branch stem is weak and positioned just over the upright of the D in the denomination. The leaf pairs are also unconnected to the stem, similarly a product of die lapping. The 1-B variety shows a strong branch stem, and both reverses share a common obverse (hence the numbering scheme). At one time the P-, D-, and C-mint coins were considered 1839/8 overdates, but they are viewed now as the product of defective date punches. In MS62 this coin is one of a half-dozen so graded at PCGS, with two in MS63 and two in MS64 (5/08). The surfaces have a consistent, attractive antique-gold coloration, with a few stray marks but fewer than expected for the grade. The strike is well executed. There are several light "bars" through the ear of Liberty, die clashing caused by the horizontal lines of the reverse shield.
From The Charleston Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 4UKS, PCGS# 7700)

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Auction Dates
June, 2008
26th-29th Thursday-Sunday
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Classic Head Quarter Eagles Die Variety Guide

The series of Classic Head quarter eagles issued from 1834 to 1839 includes 28 different individual die varieties. To date nothing has been published regarding each of the varieties. This guide provides identification and photos of the individual varieties with an of rarity for each variety.

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