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Gem Proof 1859 Quarter Eagle1859 $2 1/2 PR66 PCGS. Old Reverse. This is from the Old Hub like the 1858 Proof Quarter Eagle offered above. The reverse has heavy arrows with the lowest point close to CA. This was the first of three transitional years for the reverse design, with Old and New Hub designs known for 1859, 1860, and 1861. Apparently all 1859 Proof Quarter Eagles were of the old style, although Walter Breen, in his Proof Encyclopedia, incorrectly identified these as having the new reverse hub. He had corrected his mistake by the time his Complete Encyclopedia was published 11 years later. In the Pittman Collection catalog, David Akers reported a single Proof from the New Hub, part of the Byron Reed Collection. He continued to suggest that 10 to 12 Proof examples of this date survive. Earlier estimates by Walter Breen and others placed the total number of survivors at seven or eight coins. Plate matching from earlier catalogs is nearly an impossible task, especially when it comes to Proof gold coins. We believe that the actual population of 1859 Proof Quarter Eagles is nine or ten coins. This example is one of two Proof 1859 Quarter Eagles from the incomparable Harry Bass Collection. Bass had acquired the coin from a 1978 Stack's auction.
We have been able to learn of the following Proof 1859 Quarter Eagles, not necessarily in order of quality or importance: 1) Mint Cabinet, Smithsonian Institution. 2) J.P. Morgan, ANS. 3) This coin. Stack's (4/1978), Harry W. Bass, Jr. 4) The Bass duplicate, acquired in 1971. 5) David S. Wilson, John H. Clapp, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. 6) "World's Greatest Collection," "Memorable Collection," Pittman Collection. 7) Atwater Collection, Amon Carter Collection. 8) Byron Reed Collection. The Wolfson Collection specimen may be one of the above, possibly this same coin from the Bass Collection. The Trompeter Collection coin (later, Heritage, 8/1996, lot 8212) is also possibly one of the above, however, both the Wolfson and Trompeter coins may be different specimens.
This is a spectacular Gem Proof example with extremely deep mirrored fields and lustrous devices. A lovely Gem quality example that is immaculately preserved with brilliant yellow-gold surfaces and a hint of green coloration. Although not certified as such, this is clearly as fine as any cameo example we have handled. It is also possibly the finest Proof 1859 Quarter Eagle in existence.
Ex: Stack's (4/1978), lot 805; Harry W. Bass, Jr. (Bowers and Merena, 5/2000), lot 191.(#7885)(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 25M2, PCGS# 7885)
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