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Extremely Rare 1804 13 Star Reverse Quarter Eagle, One of 9-10 Pieces Believed Known

1804 $2 1/2 13 Star Reverse AU50 PCGS. The 1804 13 Star Reverse is generally regarded as the rarest of all quarter eagles. The mintage as reported by Breen of 1,003 pieces seems suspiciously high, especially in light of the fact that the 1804 13 Star is much rarer than the 1796 With Stars and the 1797, both of which have mintages of just over 400 pieces. Estimates of the number of survivors are in a tight range of a low of nine pieces (Breen) to a high of 10-12 pieces (Akers). If one were to go strictly by the number of coins certified, it would appear to be even rarer with only five coins certified by both PCGS and NGC (10/03). This number, however, does not account for coins that may be permanently unavailable in institutions such as the ANA and ANS.
The design difference is significant between the 13 and 14 star reverses. The 13 star reverse has the stars arranged in an "arc" arrangement while the 14 star variant has the stars arranged in the older "diamond shaped" patterns. The 14 star reverse die was also used on 1804 dimes, and it is believed to be a leftover die from 1798-99 when the cross arrangement was used on dimes, dollars, and half eagles.
From the literature that covers early gold, this issue is said to be found sharply impressed as a rule. And so it is with this piece. Additionally, the surfaces are unquestionably original with deep reddish-tinted patina overall and an outline of lilac around the peripheries and within the recesses of the devices. While the grade of AU50 qualifies this as a mid-Condition Census coin, in terms of actual preservation of the coin's surfaces one might be tempted to grade this piece even higher. However, in our opinion, the coin was not graded higher because several marks were "net graded" into the PCGS grade. A shallow scratch runs vertically in the left field from stars 2 through 6, several angling adjustment marks are located in the center of the obverse, and a shorter scratch is seen from the lower reverse rim into the bundle of arrows to the viewer's left of the tailfeathers.
Most of the famous collections have lacked this issue, including Eliasberg. This lot presents a very rare opportunity for the quarter eagle collector or general collector to acquire one of the rarest U.S. gold coins of any denomination.
Ex: Pittman II (Akers, 5/98), lot 1715, where it realized $82,500; Charles W. Neumoyer Collection (Stack's, 5/60), lot 2352, where it sold for $620 against a $400 estimate.(#7651) (Registry values: P10) (NGC ID# BFVS, PCGS# 7651)

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Auction Dates
January, 2004
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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