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Elusive 1804 Quarter Eagle, MS62
14-Star Reverse

1804 $2 1/2 14 Star Reverse MS62 PCGS. Breen-6119, BD-2, R.4. With less than 200 pieces believed to be extant in any condition, the 1804 quarter eagle is a coin that the vast majority of today's collectors will only read about. Acquisition of an example in any condition would be considered a milestone for even the most advanced collections, but obtaining a true Mint State example is a goal few realize. This sentiment is supported by the fact that the finest Smithsonian Institution specimen is considered to grade AU55.
While the much rarer BD-1 variety of this issue displays 13 reverse stars, the current example, BD-2, is known as the 14 Star Reverse variety. The significance of the 14 stars is not definitively known, although it is widely accepted that the extra star was simply the result of a die layout error. The budget-conscious early Mint would not have discarded a die for such a minor issue, hence the existence of this variety today. Some numismatic researchers conjecture that this reverse die, which was also used to strike the 1804 JR-2 dimes, is actually an unused 1798 die. The main evidence cited to support this theory is the cross pattern arrangement of the reverse stars, as opposed to the arc pattern that became the accepted style on later issues.
The three known die states of this variety are of little concern to most collectors since any attempt to collect this issue by die state, or even die variety for that matter, is reserved for the most esteemed and financially capable of numismatists. But for the sake of posterity, this example is identified here as Die State a/a, with both sides free of lapping, clashing or the cracks that are found on the two later die states. It is interesting to contemplate how a coin with a mintage of 3,327 pieces (the obverse die was used on both BD-1 and BD-2) could have fatigued to the point of developing die cracks. The reverse die was also employed to strike at least a few thousand 1804 dimes, yet it is only known in the perfect state.
The current piece has bright, lustrous surfaces with a semiprooflike finish in the fields. Each side has a slight overlay of reddish patina, noticeable both in the fields and over the devices. Well struck with a few slight marks and shallow planchet flakes on both obverse and reverse. Population: 7 in 62, 2 finer (10/07).
From The Leo Beranek Collection of Early Federal Coinage.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFVT, PCGS# 7652)

View all of [The Leo Beranek Collection of Early Federal Coinage ]

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Auction Dates
January, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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