1911-D $2 1/2 MS66 PCGS Secure....
1911-D Quarter Eagle, Remarkable MS661911-D $2 1/2 MS66 PCGS Secure. Ex: Norweb/Bass. Both its initial low mintage and its subsequent small preservation made the 1911-D quarter eagle the series-key rarity that it is today. The Denver Mint had been opened five years before it finally got around to striking its first examples of the quarter eagle denomination. But it was apparently the denomination rather than the mint that was to blame; quarter eagles were in general minted in small numbers through much of American numismatic history. The Denver Mint in 1911 certainly had the capacity to strike more: Its production for the year also included 12.7 million Lincoln cents (also the first time for that denomination); 11.2 million Barber dimes; 933,600 Barber quarters and 695,000 Barber halves; 72,500 Indian half eagles and 30,100 eagles; and 846,500 Saint-Gaudens twenties. In point of fact, the Liberty nickel was the only circulating denomination of the year that the Denver Mint did not strike.
But while the gold half eagle and eagle dated 1911-D are also low-mintage productions, they are among several keys within their respective series. The 1911-D quarter eagle, on the other hand, stands alone among the Indian Head quarter eagles as the acknowledged key in every grade, save for the very highest Mint State levels where the 1914-D and 1914 come into play as conditional rarities.
The fact that both the Norwebs and Harry Bass chose this 1911-D quarter eagle for their collections speaks volumes about the quality of this piece. In both cases, those collectors could afford to buy any example they chose to represent this key. And in both cases, this was the coin. Close examination with a loupe quickly demonstrates why.
It would be interesting to know the pedigree of this coin prior to the Norwebs purchase; it looks like someone plucked it from the dies immediately after striking. The surfaces exude originality. Both sides show a significant presence of lilac that is interspersed with light reddish-gold. The satiny luster is bright and almost unaffected by the abrasions that usually afflict all issues in the Indian quarter eagle series. Also of note is the remarkably strong strike, with almost complete definition on the lowest feather of the headdress as well as the boldly defined mintmark. But don't take our word for it, let two of the most notable collectors of the 20th century be your guide to the quality of this lot. Population: 3 in 66 (1 in 66+), 0 finer (2/13).
Ex: Norweb II (Bowers and Merena, 3/1988), lot 2122; Bass II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 643; New York Signature (Heritage, 7/2004), lot 8103, where it realized $184,000.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 2894, PCGS# 7943)
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