1909 $2 1/2 PR65 NGC. Unlike the prior year 1908 Indian Head quarter eagle proof that was struck using a heavy matte finish...
Historic 1909 Quarter Eagle, PR651909 $2 1/2 PR65 NGC. Unlike the prior year 1908 Indian Head quarter eagle proof that was struck using a heavy matte finish, and which proved to be unpopular with collectors, the 1909 issue was struck with a satiny finish known to collectors as "Roman Gold." Mike Fuljenz and Doug Winter, in their treatise A Collector's Guide to Indian Head Quarter Eagles, write that: "The coloration of these proofs is a rich yellow-gold and the texture is a hybrid of matte and mirror surfaces." In his A Reference to United States Federal Gold Coinage, Paul Taglione elaborates further: "The Satin Proofs are lighter in color than any Matte issue, are devoid of the granularity or sandblast effect found on the Mattes, and are a good deal more reflective than the Mattes although describing them as mirror-like would be distortive and inaccurate."
The 1909 quarter eagle proofs are rarer than those of 1908; Walter Breen, in his Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, says that they are "twice as rare." The greater 1909 rarity is likely due to fewer having been minted (139 1909 proofs vs. 236 1908's), resulting in part from fewer orders from collectors who disliked the 1908 matte texture (Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins: 1795-1933,). Also, because the appearance of a proof 1909 is similar to that of a business strike, many were undoubtedly spent (David Akers, United States Gold Coins: Quarter Eagles.) PCGS has seen a total of 40 1909 proofs, and NGC has certified 36; some of these are undoubtedly resubmissions.
The PR65 specimen offered in this lot displays the bright yellow-gold color typical of this issue. A powerful strike has emboldened the design elements, including sharp delineation in the hair at the Indian's temple, and on all of the eagle's plumage. A couple of stray inoffensive hairlines likely preclude an even higher grade. This highly attractive Indian Head quarter eagle should generate spirited bidding. Census: 7 in 65, 6 finer (2/07).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 289H, PCGS# 7958)
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