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Gem Proof 1884 Quarter Eagle
With Deep Orange-Red Surfaces

1884 $2 1/2 PR65 PCGS. Gold CAC. The 1884 quarter eagle proof had a nominal mintage for the era at 73 pieces, but the issue, like several other proof issues of the 1880s and 1890s, is made more noteworthy by the extremely low mintage of the companion circulation strikes. In the case of the 1884, the Mint eked out only a meager quantity of 1,950 business-strike quarter eagles, but there are many other similar examples. The 1881 and 1885 circulation-strike quarter eagles each had sub-1,000-coin mintages, while the 1883 and 1884 were below 2,000 pieces each.
This was an era when production of many gold and silver coin issues declined drastically. After the United States achieved parity between gold, silver, and paper money in 1879, huge numbers of gold and silver coins that had been hoarded in Canada since the Civil War flowed back across the border. For the first time since the beginning of the conflict, Americans could present paper currency to the U.S. Treasury and receive the equivalent value in gold or silver coinage. Yet Most Americans opted against receiving bulky coinage and chose paper, the hard-money West being the notable exception. As a result, gold and silver coinage figures plummeted for a decade. The Philadelphia Mint also made a conscious decision during this time to strike more half eagles and eagles, in preference to double eagles and quarter eagles, which a cursory examination of Guide Book mintage figures will confirm.
PCGS CoinFacts estimates that 42 examples of the 1884 proof quarter eagle survive in all grades, but only 11 of them are in Gem or finer condition. This Gem specimen is one of only six submissions in 65 or finer -- four in non-Cameo, two in Cameo -- with a single 66 non-Cameo and one Cameo numerically finer (8/12). David Akers comments simply on CoinFacts, "True Proofs are very rare."
Deep orange-red color and abundant eye appeal are the hallmarks of this piece, which has the added CAC green label. A tiny toning spot appears above Liberty's head in the obverse field, between stars 7 and 8. The strike is sharp throughout, on reflective, moderately contrasted surfaces that show some typical orange-peel effect.
From The Nottingham Collection.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 7K8C, PCGS# 7910)

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Auction Dates
October, 2012
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