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1831 $2 1/2 MS66 SNGC. Here is one of the finest examples of this very rare date and type to survive. The surfaces are an...

2005 July San Francisco, CA (ANA) Signature Auction #382

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Auction Ended On: Jul 28, 2005
Item Activity: 3 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Fantastic Gem Mint State 1831 Kneass Quarter Eagle
1831 $2 1/2 MS66 S NGC. Here is one of the finest examples of this very rare date and type to survive. The surfaces are an absolute delight to study, with a strong loupe scarcely able to find more than the most infinitesimal handling marks. It is hard to believe that any coin from this period can be so well preserved, and retain such abundant mint frost on Liberty's head and face. Boldly executed by the dies, with strong curls piled high on Liberty's head, each star needle sharp right to the very center, similar on the reverse with fully rounded feathers on the eagle, knobby claws on the eagle, and bold letters surrounding. As so few were coined (4,520 pieces in all), and virtually the entire mintage subsequently melted when the gold value exceeded the denomination value for years, these early Kneass heads are very scarce indeed. Perhaps three to five percent of the original mintage is known today, about half of those are Uncirculated. The combined NGC and PCGS population reports state that three coins have been graded this high, with a single coin graded finer. As this particular coin has the NGC Star designation for high eye appeal, it could easily have claims to be the second finest graded.
These dies were also used to coin Proofs of this year so the dies retained much of the original polished surfaces in the fields. This fact is relevant for the coin offered, as the fields are highly reflective. As more coins were struck, the reflective nature of the polished dies would wear down, and evidence of this is seen near Liberty's face and cap where the fields in those areas show mint frost instead of the reflectivity found elsewhere. It is interesting to note that this reverse die was used from 1830 until 1834 when the motto was dropped making the die obsolete. Each obverse die was used only for the dated year, and thus a single die pairing or variety exists for 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833 and 1834 (with motto). With so few coins being struck each year, the dies never had much of a chance to wear out or break. The engraver (Kneass?) mispunched the U, A2 and I2 on the reverse motto, with each letter noted first punched too far to the left, then corrected. A strong center dot is found between third and fourth horizontal stripes (from the left), and is centered over the void between the first two vertical stripes. The first 2 in the denomination has a broken neck, and curiously has a curled base, but the second two in the fraction has a flat base and clearly these two 2 punches were made using an entirely different style. One example from these dies exists in silver, Judd-49.
Ex Sweet Collection.(#7671)(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 25FM, PCGS# 7671)

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