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1831 Small Diameter Quarter Eagle, MS66
Close Collar, BD-1, Tied for Second Finest

1831 $2 1/2 MS66 NGC. Breen-6134, BD-1, R.4. The only variety. All quarter eagles struck prior to the 1834 weight adjustment (pre-Classic Head design) had extremely low mintages and are quite scarce today. The reduced-diameter Capped Head Left quarter eagles, minted from 1829 to 1834, were struck in a close collar, which was a significant change from the pre-1829 quarter eagles. The close collar was, in effect, a third die that imparted a reeded edge on the coin at the same time it was struck with the obverse and reverse designs.
Although this distinction between the Large Diameter and Small Diameter Capped Head issues is seldom noted, it was an important refinement that not only increased the speed of production at the Mint but also improved the appearance of the coins. The smaller diameter and close collar gave the coins higher rims that allowed for higher relief and protected the design elements from wear.
With a mintage of only 4,520 pieces it is unsurprising that the 1831 is very scarce in all grades. John Dannreuther (2006) estimates the total number of survivors at 110 to 125 pieces. Early quarter eagles did not circulate extensively, and the population data from NGC and PCGS reveals that most of the survivors are in About Uncirculated to low Mint State grades. The 1831 can actually be purchased in grades up to MS64, albeit at a lofty price.
At the Gem level, however, the 1831 becomes quite rare, with only nine examples certified by NGC and PCGS combined. The population figures in higher grades, particularly at the MS64 and 65 levels, likely include some resubmissions and crossovers, and therefore overstate the availability. In MS66 this issue is extremely rare with just five examples reported by NGC and PCGS. The present coin is one of two MS66 examples that have received a Star designation from NGC for exceptional eye appeal. A single MS67 specimen, graded by PCGS, is the finest certified 1831 quarter eagle (7/11).
Glowing, softly frosted mint luster shimmers across the surfaces, which are nearly semiprooflike with cartwheel luster at the margins. Deep orange-gold patina enhances the eye appeal. The strike is full around the periphery while the centers are just a touch soft. Several adjustment marks are noted in the center of the reverse on the eagle's left (facing) wing down to the left side of the shield. There are no mentionable marks, which is unusual even for such a high-grade example. This is certainly the finest 1831 quarter eagle we have ever sold.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# BFWA, PCGS# 7671)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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