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Gem Ultra Cameo Proof 1845 Quarter Eagle

1845 $2 1/2 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. At the time this coin was struck, the Mint did not keep records of proof coinage, thus we cannot be certain of an exact mintage for this coin, or for the proof 1845 half eagle in this sale. Based on the number of pieces surviving today, we can be certain that the quantity coined was extremely small. Gold proofs of this era were struck for only two reasons: to supply the few collectors who could afford them, and to include in sets for presentation purposes. Apparently neither was a factor in 1845. James Polk was at the beginning of his Presidency, and there was little reason for presentation sets to be prepared at the time. We have not heard of any such sets being made for this purpose, although it is possible that this coin, which is pedigreed back to England in the 1970s, and before that back to the time it was struck, may be from one such presentation set. Few collectors could afford to buy and save proof gold coins in the 1840s. Among those who could buy such coins were Joseph Mickley and Matthew Stickney.
As best we can determine, just three 1845 proof quarter eagles are known, including this example. The Smithsonian Institution specimen and the Pittman specimen are the others. Walter Breen had recorded four different pieces in his Complete Encyclopedia, but at the time he was unaware that the Pittman coin and the "Memorable Sale" coin are the same. In the Pittman catalog, David Akers hinted that another example could exist: "In my opinion, of the approximately 10-15 Proof sets minted in 1845, only 4 or 5 of them included the gold coins. I can account for only three of the quarter eagles today. However, since there are four known examples of the eagle, at least one other quarter eagle must have been struck and so it is possible that one or two others exist somewhere."
This example is apparently the finest of the three. The Pittman coin was later graded PR65 Cameo by NGC, while this example has a finer PR66 U(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 26J6, PCGS# 97871)

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Auction Dates
April, 2006
6th-7th Thursday-Friday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,000

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