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Gem Proof Cameo 1862 Two and a Half
As Rare as the Legendary 1863 Proof

1862 $2 1/2 PR65 Cameo NGC. CAC. The Mint only started publicly marketing and reporting proof coin mintages in 1858, and the proof quarter eagle mintages for 1859, 1860, and 1861 were given as 80, 112, and 90 pieces, respectively -- but the savageries of the Civil War by 1862 greatly reduced the numbers struck, as the nation threatened to rip itself asunder and people had weightier issues on their minds than coins. The 1862 proof quarter eagle mintage was a skimpy 35 pieces, and it is doubtful that 15 examples survive today, including those permanently ensconced in the Smithsonian and ANS collections.
The 1863 quarter eagle is a storied rarity in U.S. numismatics; Garrett and Guth write that "the 1862 quarter eagle is just as rare as the famous 1863, but it has been overshadowed by latter date as it was a Proof-only issue." The 1862 quarter eagle has also been somewhat neglected as a date due to the rather large production of business strikes, 98,508 coins, making it an unappreciated issue in itself.
The certified populations are inflated by duplications and resubmissions, but the present Gem Cameo NGC-certified piece is numerically finer than any Cameo at PCGS, which has seen but two in 63 Cameo and one in 64 Cameo. PCGS has also seen non-Cameo submissions: three in 62, two in 63, and one in 65.
At NGC this piece is one of three submissions -- not necessarily all separate coins -- in 65 Cameo, with one 66 Cameo finer (8/12). There are also two NGC submissions in 65 Ultra Cameo, one in 66 Ultra Cameo. (Sixteen certification events for a maximum of 13 separate coins is not at all unusual in the topsy-turvy world of coin grading.)
The surfaces on this delightful Gem proof are mostly orange-gold with a patch of deeper lilac color in the left obverse field, before Liberty's head. Appreciable field-device contrast is evident on each side, seemingly on the cusp of an Ultra Cameo designation. A small, raised die lump, as made, in the obverse field, just out from star 10, provides a pedigree identifier. The strike is crisp on the obverse, even if a tad shy of absolute on the highest hair strands. A few trivial, thin marks in the reverse field are barely worthy of mention.
From The Nottingham Collection.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 287G, PCGS# 87888)

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Auction Dates
October, 2012
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