Among Finest 1804 13 Stars Quarter Eagle, BD-1, AU55
1804 $2 1/2 13 Star Reverse AU55 NGC. BD-1, Low R.7.
Nicely struck with slight central weakness. The surfaces are rich
in green-gold patina with reflective fields on both sides. Only a
few faint hairlines and scattered marks keep it from perfection. An
outstanding and highly appealing example of this major rarity.
Die State. The obverse die is perfect and the reverse die is lightly lapped with two or three fragmented leaves in the branch.
Condition Census. We believe that only the following nine examples of this variety are known:
1. AU55 NGC. The present specimen. George Earle (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2502; later, Stack's (3/1979), lot 1672; Auction '85 (RARCOA, 7/1985), lot 349; Auction '89 (David Akers, 7/1989), lot 1359; Michael Keston (Superior, 1/1996), lot 6.
2. AU55 PCGS. New Netherlands (11/1956), lot 184; Stack's (3/1990), lot 629; Superior (8/1990), lot 1250; Superior (5/1991), lot 1308; Long Beach Connoisseur; Bowers and Merena (8/1999), lot 343.
3. AU50. Julian Leidman (5/1970); Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation. It is possible that this might be the specimen from New Netherlands, December 1960, although the quality is much different.
4. AU50 PCGS. Stack's (5/1960), lot 2352; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1715; Bowers and Merena (8/2000), lot 2045; Heritage (1/2004), lot 3005.
5. XF. Bowers and Ruddy (10/1977), lot 1440; Stack's (10/2001), lot 300.
6. XF. Stack's (1/1984), lot 533.
7. VF. Superior (2/1973), lot 102.
8. VF. New Netherlands (12/1960), lot 259.
9. VF. Superior (2/1978), lot 644; Auction '79 (Superior, 7/1979), lot 1659.
Appearances. Plated in the 1912 George Earle catalog, as well as the Stack's, RARCOA, Akers, and Superior catalogs recorded in the provenance.
Obverse 1. Date free of the bust and distant from the dentils. Digit 4 is plain without base or crosslet. Divided date with 18 and 04 closer than 80. Top left serif of e is missing. lib are very close. Star pairs 4-5, 5-6, and 10-11 are closer than others. Stars 1 and 8 are equally spaced from the hair curl and cap. The upper point of star 9 is extremely close to the top right of Y and appears to touch. Star 13 is quite close to the bust.
State a. Perfect.
Reverse Die. Thirteen stars with normal arrangement of six in the top row and five below. All three E's are missing the upper left serif. U is much closer to an arrow shaft than to border. First S is low. Upright of E is over space between clouds 4 and 5. Left base of first A in AMERICA is extremely close to third and fourth feathers. Bases of ME are joined and RI are very close. Final A is distant from both the claw and lowest leaf. Five berries in branch with three lowest berries free of leaves. A leaf tip ends just right of base of I but does not touch. Outer arrow point is below right edge of U. Arrows extend below center of left upright of N. Star 2 is separated from clouds and below left base of A. Star 7 is left of vertical below star 2. Star 12 joins upper and lower points of beak. Star 13 is high above scroll and points to left upright of U.
State a. Perfect. State b. The die has been lapped with several fragmented leaves.
Heritage Commentary. This reverse was earlier used to produce dimes, 1802 JR-4 and 1804 JR-1, and 1802 quarter eagles, BD-2. This is a very rare variety with less than a dozen known, just nine by our current count. Although other early quarter eagle varieties are rarer, the popularity of this variety is due to its listing in the Guide Book and other standard catalogs. Walter Breen suggested that this variety was from a delivery of 1,003 coins and was struck after the 14 Star reverse coins. It is now known that this was the first 1804 variety struck, thus Breen's mintage estimate is invalid.
Consignor Commentary. When I started seriously trying to complete the early quarter eagles, I was concerned that I would never have the opportunity to purchase a nice example of this variety. So I was delighted when I completed the initial variety collection by purchasing this coin at the Keston Sale. I recognized it as a great rarity of the early federal coinage, absent from most major collections, including the Eliasberg Collection. This coin is easily in the Condition Census. It is a relatively high grade, problem-free coin that is clearly superior to five of the nine examples I have identified.
The reverse die was also used for the 1802 JR-4 and 1804 JR-1 dimes and the 1802 BD-2 quarter eagle. This is the only reverse die used on two quarter eagle varieties and on two dime varieties. Laying out high grade examples of these four coins side by side is the essence of what this collection is about.
Provenance. George Earle (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2502; later, Stack's (3/1979), lot 1672; Auction '85 (RARCOA, 7/1985), lot 349; Auction '89 (David Akers, 7/1989), lot 1359; Michael Keston (Superior, 1/1996), lot 6.
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P10) (NGC ID# BFVS, PCGS# 7651)
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