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Description

Extremely Rare Gem Proof 1860 Quarter Eagle
112 Pieces Struck, Many Examples Melted

1860 $2 1/2 PR65 PCGS. CAC. The 1859 and 1860 proofs are the first for which the Mint reported production figures after it publicly began marketing proof coins in 1858. The 1859 quarter eagle proofs were struck to the extent of 80 pieces, the 1860 to the tune of 112 pieces. But those figures are completely meaningless today, as the Mint's practice was to melt whatever proof coins remained unsold, usually at the end of the year, and not report any reduction in the actual number distributed to collectors -- which, after all, is what really matters to numismatists, along with the subsequent survival of those coins.
For the 1859 quarter eagle, Walter Breen estimates that only about eight examples exist today, while for the 1860 he posits a survival of 20 to 30 pieces. Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth offer these comments in the second edition (2008) of their Gold Encyclopedia:

"The mintage figure of 112 is very misleading as to the true rarity of the 1860 Liberty Head quarter eagle in Proof. The date is just as rare as other issues from the 1860s, with only 30 to 50 coins struck. If 112 examples of the date were actually produced, most were either melted as unsold or entered circulation. The 1860 quarter eagle is rarely offered at public auction, and just a few of them have sold in the last decade, the finest being the PF-66 Harry W. Bass example sold in 2000 for $34,500. Examples also reside in the museum collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the ANS. All of the Proof 1860 quarter eagles are seen with the New Reverse. Also interesting is the position of the date, which slants down sharply to the right on Proofs of the year."


The present Gem PCGS example is a delightful specimen with sharply detailed design elements and reflective orange-gold surfaces that show only minimal signs of contact. The fields show a trace of the orange-peel texture often associated with 19th century proofs, but the effect is subtle. This coin is the only example graded PR65 by PCGS with none finer in the designation, although there are two specimens graded PR65 Cameo and a single coin in PR66 Cameo (8/12).
From The Nottingham Collection.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 7K7L, PCGS# 7886)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
October, 2012
18th-21st
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 685

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