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Glorious PR64 Cameo 1859 Quarter Eagle Rarity, Ex: Eliasberg

1859 $2 1/2 PR64 Cameo NGC. Old Reverse. Writing in 1986, Paul F. Taglione states that all proof 1859 Quarter Eagles were produced with the New Reverse hub. The present specimen, on the other hand, was struck with the Old Reverse (larger arrowheads and larger, more closely spaced letters in the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA), and we suspect that all proofs of this date are of the same hub variety.
The surfaces of this beautiful near-Gem exhibit bright, honey-gold patina. A well struck specimen, the reverse feathers and obverse hair curls display intricate detail that a business strike from the same era could not hope to approach. The cameo contrast is complete, and the delicate fields are very well preserved. In an older, pre-hologram NGC holder. The Y in LIBERTY is recut.
The Mint produced 80 proof Quarter Eagles in this, the first year of increased sales to collectors. Despite a deliberate, if primitive marketing campaign, the Mint failed to sell all of these coins, and the vast majority were melted at the end of the year. Fewer than ten coins (per Akers, 1975) are believed extant, and, indeed, we can trace only eight survivors:

1. Ex: United States Mint; Smithsonian Institute.

2. Ex: J. P. Morgan; American Numismatic Society.

3. Ex: F. C. C. Boyd; World's Greatest Collection Sale (Numismatic Gallery, 1/46), lot 127; Memorable Sale (Numismatic Gallery, 3/48), lot 118; Wolfson Sale (Stack's, 10/62), lot 179; Spring Sale (Stack's, 4/78), lot 805; Ed Trompeter; Ed Trompeter Collection Sale (Superior, 2/92), lot 39; Orlando Sale (Superior, 8/92), lot 562; Baltimore Sale (Superior, 8/92), lot 851.

4. Ex: David S. Wilson Sale (S. H. Chapman, 3/07); John H. Clapp; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Louis E. Eliasberg, Jr.; United States Gold Coin Collection Sale (Bowers & Ruddy, 10/82), lot 186; Dr. Jerry Buss Collection Sale (Superior, 1/85), lot 1714; H. W. Blevins Estate and George Bodway Collections Sale (Superior, 6/88), lot 6624, where it realized $19,800. The present example identifiable by a lintmark (as struck) in the obverse field at star 6, and another in the reverse field above the first A in AMERICA.

5. William Cutler Atwater Sale (B. Max Mehl, 6/46), lot 1963; Amon Carter Collection Sale (Stack's, 1/84), lot 553.

6. John Jay Pittman; John Jay Pittman Collection Sale (Akers, 10/97), lot 834, as part of an 1859 proof set.

7. Private Collection.

8. Byron Reed; Omaha City Library; Byron Reed Collection Sale (Spink America, 10/96), lot 55. (NGC ID# 25M2, PCGS# 87885)

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Auction Dates
April, 2002
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
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