1831 $2 1/2 PR63 NGC....
Rare PR63 1831 Quarter Eagle, BD-11831 $2 1/2 PR63 NGC. BD-1, R.7 as a proof. Star 1 points to the center of a dentil and is quite close to it. The digits in the date are spaced progressively narrower from left to right, with the greatest distance between the 1 and 8. Light obverse clash marks appear in the form of a second inner set of dentils partially visible around the rim. On the reverse--carried over from 1830, and used through 1834--the numerator (1) is much shorter than the denominator (2) in the fraction. The left upright of the U in UNITED was first engraved too far left, then reengraved in the proper position. A tiny die crack joins the left top corner of the T in UNITED to a dentil nearby. There is some strike softness on the eagle's left (facing) wing to the left of the shield.
There is only one die marriage known for the year among the recorded mintage of 4,520 business strikes. While the proof mintage is unknown, they are extremely rare, even though a handful are certified at NGC and PCGS. More precisely, PCGS has certified one PR63 and one PR66, while NGC has graded the present PR63 and one in PR66, along with one PR64 Cameo, for a total of five coins (3/09).
Many of the same die diagnostics show on the Bass example depicted in the Bass-Dannreuther Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, a coin that Bass called "Proof?" with the question mark. Both Bass-Dannreuther and Garrett and Guth note that unquestioned proofs as well as questioned ones exist for the 1831 quarter eagle. NGC of course clearly believes in the proof status of this piece--as do we. We would mention, however, that not all early proofs are fully struck, contrary to the opinions of some collectors. The highly mirrored, deeply reflective fields and the lack of any visible clash marks or adjustment marks are convincing themselves of a proof striking, but the incomplete strike on the reverse certainly does not rule out the coin's status. The surfaces also lack any hint of frostiness.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 286S, PCGS# 7686)
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