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1863 $2 1/2 PR60 PCGS. CAC....

2011 November 8-10 US Coins Signature Auction - Beverly Hills #1161

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Auction Ended On: Nov 9, 2011
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions - Beverly Hills
9478 West Olympic Blvd., 1st Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212


1863 Quarter Eagle, PR60
Classic 19th Century Rarity
Proof-Only Mintage of 30 Pieces
1863 $2 1/2 PR60 PCGS. CAC. The rarity and importance of the 1863 quarter eagle were recognized almost as soon as the coins were issued. The low proof-only mintage figure of 30 pieces was widely publicized, and the issue was avidly sought-after by contemporary collectors. The 1863 began to appear at auction as early as the sale of the John F. McCoy Collection, conducted by W. Elliot Woodward in May 1864. Woodward was probably the most prominent coin dealer of the 1860s, and the McCoy sale set a record for prices realized up to that time, with a total of more than $13,000. Lot 1992 of the sale featured a gold proof set of 1863. Woodward disclosed:

"1863 Proof set, with 10 Dollar Piece, and four smaller denominations. Of the Quarter Eagle of 1863, I have positive knowledge that only 30 pieces were struck; hence this coin is now one of the rarest of the series. I am also assured that the 3 Dollar Piece is scarcely less rare."

The lot realized $72.50 to William A. Lilliendahl, a tremendous price at the time, since the coins were only minted the year before. By 1883, Harold P. Newlin estimated about the 1863 "not half a dozen of these are now known to collectors." Of course, a few more specimens have surfaced since Newlin's time. In their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth estimate a surviving population of 15-20 examples of this date in all grades. This is only the seventh time Heritage has been privileged to offer an 1863 quarter eagle in any of our auctions since 1993.
The present coin is an attractive PR60 example, with sharply detailed design elements and brightly reflective yellow-gold fields that display highlights of green and orange. A number of minor hairlines and contact marks are evident on both sides, explaining the grade. Housed in a green label holder. Population: 1 in 60, 7 finer (9/11).(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 287H, PCGS# 7889)

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