1845 Quarter Eagle, PR67 Ultra Cameo
1845 $2 1/2 PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC. A magnificently preserved
specimen of early (pre-1858) U.S. proof coinage, stunningly
contrasted between sharply struck, thickly frosted devices and
gleaming fields that shift between pale yellow and reflective
"black" depending on the angle to the light. This piece shows
several pedigree markers suggesting that it is the Trompeter coin
(see rosters below): a small planchet flaw at star 11 on the
obverse rim, a similar planchet flake in the space off the upper
left (facing) corner of the eagle's shield on the reverse, and the
two small, straight lines under the second S in STATES that
preclude an even finer designation.
Finest of Three Confirmed
The Trompeter Specimen
At least four gold proof sets were struck by the U.S. Mint in 1845, though the reasons for striking and intended recipients are unknown. With an 1845 proof quarter eagle in the Mint Cabinet (later the National Numismatic Collection) and this piece being discovered along with the other coins in a gold proof set in England in the 1970s, there is appreciable evidence that at least one of the sets was meant for a diplomatic visitor, though such evidence is largely circumstantial.
Also unknown is the number of survivors. Based on the existence of at least four proof 1845 eagles and the fact that two of the three confirmed proof 1845 quarter eagles were found in complete proof sets (the third being the Mint Cabinet/National Numismatic Collection specimen), it is logical that a fourth (or possibly even fifth) proof 1845 quarter eagle might survive. Garrett and Guth (Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins) and the PCGS Population Report both list "4 or 5" survivors, and indeed there are four certification events in the combined certified population, though the pattern of certification events (a PR67 Cameo and PR67 Ultra Cameo for NGC against a PR65 and PR65 Deep Cameo for PCGS) suggests crossover duplication. For now, though, here are three identified proof 1845 quarter eagles and their known histories.
Roster of Known Proofs:
1. The present coin. Part of a three-piece gold proof set. An "English bank vault," stored for "more than a century" (per next source); Williams Collection Sale (Bowers and Ruddy, 9/1979), lot 1815; Ed Trompeter; Dennis Mendelson Collection Sale (Superior, 2/1991), lot 2595; Bowers and Merena (7/2004), lot 3024; ANA National Money Show (Heritage, 4/2006), lot 1689. Currently graded PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC; was PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC for past two auction appearances.
2. Mint Cabinet; National Numismatic Collection (Smithsonian Institution). Estimated as "PR66 Deep Cameo" in the Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins.
3. Part of a three-piece gold proof set. Colonel E.H.R. Green; J.F. Bell; "A Memorable Sale of U.S. and Territorial Gold Coins" (Abe Kosoff, 3/1948), lot 105; John Jay Pittman (referred to as an "upstate N.Y. specialist collection" by Walter Breen); John Jay Pittman Collection, Part Two (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1711; Minning Collection Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 2149. Graded PR65 NGC in 1999.
Additional Possible Examples:
A. Lorin G. Parmelee; William H. Woodin; Waldo Newcomer; Burdette G. Johnson. Linked with entry 1 by Bowers and Merena cataloger.
B. Rumored B. Max Mehl. Breen (in his Proof Encyclopedia, 1977) reports the late Floyd Starr telling about Mehl handling an example, though skepticism is warranted.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 26J6, PCGS# 97871)
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